UK detects 1st human case of swine flu strain H1N2

The first human case of the swine flu strain H1N2 has been detected in the United Kingdom, health officials there announced Monday. 

The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says the case of Influenza A(H1N2)v was discovered in the North Yorkshire area after a person began “experiencing respiratory symptoms.” That person, who suffered a mild illness, has now fully recovered, and an investigation is ongoing to determine the source of the infection, the agency added. 

“It is thanks to routine flu surveillance and genome sequencing that we have been able to detect this virus. This is the first time we have detected this virus in humans in the UK, though it is very similar to viruses that have been detected in pigs,” UKHSA Incident Director Meera Chand said in a statement. “We are working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread.” 

The UKHSA also said, “There have been a total of 50 human cases of Influenza A(H1N2)v reported globally since 2005; none of them related genetically to this strain.” 

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One case was detected in Michigan over the summer after a person came into contact with an infected pig at an agricultural fair, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“According to the report, the case is under 18 years old, with no comorbidities, resident in the State of Michigan, who developed respiratory illness on 29 July 2023. The case presented with fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and lethargy,” the WHO said at the time. “On 29 July, the case sought medical care at an emergency department, and an upper respiratory tract specimen was collected on 30 July. The specimen tested positive for influenza A virus on the same day.” 

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The UKHSA described H1N1 – once referred to as the “swine flu” — H1N2 and H3N2 as “major subtypes of swine influenza A viruses in pigs and occasionally infect humans, usually after direct or indirect exposure to pigs or contaminated environments.” 

An H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009 caused at least 18,500 laboratory-confirmed human deaths. 

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