The UK’s first human case of swine flu strain H1N2—which has been circulating in pigs—has been detected, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
The case was detected as part of a routine flu surveillance, though the source of the infection is unknown. Officials said the individual experienced a mild illness and made a full recovery, adding that they would now be carrying out contact tracing to prevent further spread of the 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,” says incident director Meera Chand. “We are working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread. In accordance with established protocols, investigations are underway to learn how the individual acquired the infection and to assess whether there are any further associated cases.”
UKHSA said it was monitoring the situation closely including increasing surveillance within existing programmes involving GP surgeries and hospitals in parts of North Yorkshire.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “We know that some diseases of animals can be transferred to humans, which is why high standards of animal health, welfare and biosecurity are so important. Through our animal and human surveillance systems, we work together to protect everyone.
“In this case, we are providing specialist veterinary and scientific knowledge to support the UKHSA investigation. Pig keepers must also report any suspicion of swine flu in their herds to their local vet immediately.”
Since 2005, there have been a total of 50 global cases of A(H1N2)v detected in humans, however none of them are genetically related to the strain found in Britain, as per the alert.