Whenever a virus passes from animals to humans, it creates a sense of alarm.
Zoonotic diseases, known as zoonoses, have caused pandemics in the past, with the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why the UK Health Security Agency is investigating how a person in Yorkshire has been infected with a strain of flu that closely resembles a virus found in pigs in the UK.
We don’t have much information about the individual, but we do know that they only experienced mild symptoms and fully recovered.
Furthermore, they did not have any contact with pigs, which adds to the mystery.
Could this mean that the virus is already circulating among people, undetected until now?
NEW SWINE FLU STRAIN FOUND IN BRITISH PERSON: WHAT WE KNOW
A person in North Yorkshire has been diagnosed with a strain of flu similar to a virus circulating in pigs.
Is this swine flu? Bird flu? Both? Have there been cases in other parts of the world? What do we know about the first case?
Health authorities are currently tracing the contacts of the infected person and trying to identify the source of the infection.
Typically, the flu virus crosses the species barrier by infecting individuals in close contact with animals.
This is why individuals who work with chickens are monitored for bird flu, which is caused by another strain of the virus.
However, even if there is a human case of an animal virus, it usually ends there. The virus is not transmitted further because it is not well-adapted to human cells and cannot spread from person to person.
Currently, there is no evidence of human transmission of the new swine flu virus.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to find an alternative explanation at this time.
However, this does not necessarily mean that we are on the brink of a new pandemic. The strain could disappear as quickly as it appeared.
Nevertheless, scientists will want to learn more about the virus to determine its transmissibility and assess whether it poses a greater risk to vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.