- The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced that the first human case of the H1N2 flu had breathing problems and experienced a mild illness
- UKHSA said the source of the infection is still under investigation, with efforts to trace close contacts and reduce potential spread
- The virus was detected through routine flu surveillance and genome sequencing, marking the first detection of the strain in humans in the UK
Didacus Malowa, a journalist at TUKO.co.ke, brings over three years of experience covering politics and current affairs in Kenya.
London - The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced the first human case of flu strain H1N2, which has been circulating in pigs.
In a statement, the government agency stated they were working closely with partners to determine its characteristics and assess the risk it poses to human health.
According to UKHSA, the individual was tested after developing breathing problems, adding that the patient experienced a mild illness but was fully recovered.
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"The case was detected as part of routine national flu surveillance undertaken by UKHSA and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The individual was tested by their GP after experiencing respiratory symptoms," read the statement in part.
Meera Chand, Incident Director at UKHSA, explained that the source of the infection was yet to be ascertained and remains under investigation.
"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," Chand said.
How was the strain detected
Chand further observed that it was thanks to routine flu surveillance that they could detect the virus.
"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," Chand added.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss added that they strive to protect everyone through animal and human surveillance systems.
What is H1N1 virus
In 2009, a pandemic in humans was caused by influenza A H1N1, commonly called ‘swine flu’.
That virus contained genetic material from viruses that were circulating in pigs, birds and humans in the 1990s and 2000s.
H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2 are major subtypes of swine influenza A viruses in pigs and occasionally infect humans, usually after direct or indirect exposure to pigs or contaminated environments.
A total of 50 human cases of influenza A(H1N2) have been reported globally since 2005, but none is related to the strain found in the UK.