Scarborough and Whitby MP says 'no cause for undue alarm' as Swine Flu case confirmed

Monitoring has been increased at GP surgeries and hospitals in North Yorkshire after a single case of Swine Flu was detected.
Testing has been increased after a single case of swine flu was detectedTesting has been increased after a single case of swine flu was detected
Testing has been increased after a single case of swine flu was detected

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected a single confirmed human case of influenza A(H1N2)v.

Influenza A(H1N2)v is similar to flu viruses currently circulating in pigs in the UK.

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This is the first detection of this strain of flu in a human in the UK.

The individual concerned experienced a mild illness and has fully recovered.

The source of their infection has not yet been ascertained and remains under investigation.

Close contacts of the case are being followed up by UKHSA and partner organisations.

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Any contacts will be offered testing as necessary and advised on any necessary further care if they have symptoms or test positive.

The MP for Scarborough and Whitby, Sir Robert Goodwill, said: “Whilst human infections with this virus do occur, there have only been 50 cases of this particular strain reported in the last 20 years.

“There is no cause for undue alarm but, given the individual did not work with pigs, medical experts are interested to discover how this patient became infected.

People with flu symptoms are encouraged to limit contact with elderly or vulnerable people as with any flu and to contact their GP to see if a screening test would be appropriate.

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“Pig owners must report any signs of swine flu to their vet.

“This disease must not be confused with the much more virulent and severe African Swine Fever which is present in some wild boar herds on the continent but so far has not reached our shores.”

People with any respiratory symptoms should continue to follow the existing guidance; avoid contact with other people while symptoms persist, particularly if the people they are coming into contact with are elderly or have existing medical conditions.

UKHSA is monitoring the situation closely and is taking steps to increase surveillance within existing programmes involving GP surgeries and hospitals in parts of North Yorkshire.

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Meera Chand, Incident Director at UKHSA, said: “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.

“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.”

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Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “We know that some diseases of animals can be transferred to humans – which is why high standards of animal health, welfare and biosecurity are so important.

“Through our animal and human surveillance systems we work together to protect everyone. “In this case we are providing specialist veterinary and scientific knowledge to support the UKHSA investigation.

“Pig keepers must also report any suspicion of swine flu in their herds to their local vet immediately."