Health officials in the UK are closely examining the first confirmed case of a new strain of swine flu, identified as A(H1N2)v.
The infection surfaced during a routine flu screening test at a general practitioner in North Yorkshire complaining of breathing problems. The individual exhibited respiratory symptoms, experienced a mild illness and has fully recovered.
The affected person is not known to have had contact with pigs.
Ongoing investigations aim to determine the source of the infection and assess its potential risk to human health. Despite global reports of 50 cases of A(H1N2)v in the past two decades, this case in the UK is slightly different from recent global human swine flu cases but is similar to viruses found in UK pigs.
In response to the case, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) plans to enhance surveillance in the North Yorkshire region.
Dr Meera Chand, Incident Director at the UKHSA, said that routine flu surveillance and genome sequencing led to the early detection of the new virus strain.
“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,” the Indian-origin microbiologist was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
All about the A(H1N2)v swine flu strain
Primarily affecting the respiratory system, symptoms of this illness necessitate individuals to take precautionary measures.
If someone exhibits symptoms, their initial action should be to minimise contact with others, particularly individuals who are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions.
H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2 are major subtypes of swine flu A viruses in pigs and occasionally infect humans.
It's important to note the distinction between the H1N1 strain, responsible for the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and the A(H1N2)v strain.
The latter, classified as an influenza A subtype, is prevalent in seven different species, including humans, birds and pigs. Typically, these strains tend to remain within their respective species.
More about swine flu
Swine flu is often transferred from pigs to humans via direct contact but only in rare cases does it spread between humans.
The UKHSA's advice for all respiratory symptoms remains - avoid contact with others while they persist, particularly if they are old or have existing medical conditions.
The symptoms of swine flu (H1N1) are similar to regular flu, which include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body or muscle aches, headache and fatigue.