A rare swine flu virus (H1N2v) is identified in a patient from central Alberta which is marked as Canada’s first-ever case of this infection. The chief medical officer of Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw has confirmed this case telling that it was reported in the middle of October when the patient came to the emergency unit of a local healthcare center. This case appears to be an isolated case, she mentioned while speaking in a news conference, and it is the only case of influenza which has been reported this year.
Influenza viruses are common in pigs and some of these strains, for example, this H1N2 can also infect humans. However, this is just a rare thing. When this swine flu is identified in a human source it is referred to as H1N2v where ‘v’ represents its variant, and it is a highly rare swine flu type.
Dr. Hinshaw confirmed that it is the first time that H1N2v is reported in Canada adding up to 27 global cases since 2005. Twenty-four (24) of these cases were reported from the United States and only two were reported from Brazil.
Considering its history and the current evidence, it looks like that the risk of this rare swine flu for human health is low. After this case was reported, the local bodies were trying to figure out if this infection has spread and any other person is infected too. Typically, swine flu doesn’t infect humans but obviously, there are some exceptions. Humans can contract this virus when they are in close proximity to pigs. If they are breathing into the same air, the respiratory droplets coming from infected people can enter inside a human, or this virus can be transmitted if a human touched any contaminated pig and then touch his mouth/nose.
All of the swine flu cases to this day are somehow linked with pigs where the patients confirmed having direct/indirect contact. None of these previous 27 cases were able to initiate a human to human transmissions like seasonal flu or COVID-19. It suggests that human transmission of this virus is not possible and the only way to get this rare swine flu variant is to get it from the pigs only.
This patient from Alberta experienced only mild symptoms. The tests for flu and COVID-19 are conducted in all Canadian hospitals and this patient was tested positive for flu. However, the recovery was quick.
Dr. Dinshow assures that at this point, there is no chance that the virus has infected more people from this patient.
The national and state-level agencies are currently working to find out the source of this virus and they confirm that there is no spread of this swine flu at this moment. Tests from retrospective testing from COVID-19 samples of the last two weeks show that none of the patients have the flu virus. The Alberta Health Services is currently offering optional influenza testing for all people living in central Alberta who are coming to the hospital for their COVID-19 test. The case of this new swine flu virus is still under investigation to find out its link with pigs.