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UK detects first human case of distinct swine flu contact tracing underway
USAgNet - 11/28/2023

The United Kingdom has announced its first human case of a "distinct" form of swine flu, influenza A(H1N2)v. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) made this revelation as part of routine national flu report.

While this strain, influenza A(H1N2)v, has been reported globally since 2005, the case detected in the UK is genetically unrelated to previous instances. The UKHSA notes that the infection belongs to a distinct clade (1b.1.1), which differs from recent cases of influenza A(H1N2) observed elsewhere but shares similarities with viruses found in UK swine populations.

The individual infected with this unique strain experienced only mild symptoms and has since fully recovered. However, the source of the infection remains unknown, prompting authorities to take swift action. Contact tracing is underway, with a focus on reducing the potential spread of the virus. Surveillance in medical facilities in North Yorkshire, a region in northern England, has been intensified as part of these efforts.

Influenza A viruses are commonly found in swine, with subtypes such as H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2. On occasion, these viruses can infect humans, typically through direct or indirect exposure to pigs or contaminated environments, as explained by UKHSA officials.

The broader subtype, influenza A(H1N2)v, has been reported in 50 human cases across various countries, including Canada. In late 2021, Manitoba reported a human case of variant H1N2 to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and it appeared to be an isolated incident with no human-to-human transmission.

While the world witnessed the 2009 "swine flu" pandemic caused by a different strain, H1N1, the current case is unrelated to that outbreak. H1N1 now circulates seasonally in humans and is distinct from the virus strains found in swine populations.

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