A variant of the flu strain H1N2, similar to one that is currently circulating in pigs, has been detected in a human for the first time in the UK, according to public health officials. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the disease has not previously been detected in humans in the country. The person reportedly experienced a mild illness and has since fully recovered. However, the UKHSA mentioned that they have not yet worked out how the person became infected and the case remains under investigation.
“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,” said Incident Director at UKHSA, Meera Chand.
“We are working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread.”
It is not known at this stage how transmissible the strain is or if there could be other cases in the UK.
Influenza A (H1) viruses are endemic in swine populations in most regions of the world. The H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses are major subtypes of swine influenza A viruses in pigs.
The virus occasionally infects humans, usually after direct or indirect exposure to pigs or contaminated environments.
The H1N1 pandemic in 2009 was the first major influenza outbreak in the 21st century.