UK Has an Unwanted First: Human Case of Swine Flu

At least 50 cases have been reported worldwide since 2005, so far with little consequence
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2023 1:35 PM CST
UK Sees an Unwanted First: Swine Flu in a Human
Stock photo.   (Getty/Fahroni)

The UK has joined a club it would have rather avoided: countries in which a human caught a case of swine flu. The unidentified patient has fully recovered from what was described as a mild illness, reports New Scientist. Health authorities say the person didn't work with pigs—the animals can spread the disease to humans—and are investigating how they acquired the A(H1N2)v infection, per the BBC. It was detected because the patient's doctor in North Yorkshire sent in a sample for routine screening as part of the UK's flu surveillance system.

Only 50 cases of swine flu in humans have been reported worldwide since 2005—including in the US as recently as August—and the UK case appears to be a new strain, per a news release from the UK Health Security Agency. While such animal-to-human transmissions have the potential to cause pandemics, none of the previous cases have caused trouble on that front, per New Scientist. "It clearly needs to be kept an eye on, but I'm not particularly concerned about it," says Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia in the UK. (More swine flu stories.)

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