1 case of rare swine flu variant confirmed in central Alberta, first of its kind in Canada

A case of the rare variant Influenza A (H1N2)v has been confirmed in central Alberta.

The infectious respiratory disease is known to occur in swine herds across the world. It’s a very rare virus, with only 27 cases reported globally since 2005 and it has never been reported in Canada before.

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Alberta Health learned about the case in mid-October when a person was suffering from flu-like symptoms and sought medical attention. The patient was tested and then quickly recovered, according to the province.

“There is no evidence at this time that the virus has spread further,” the statement from chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and chief provincial veterinarian Dr. Keith Lehman said Wednesday.

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Alberta Health Services will be offering optional influenza testing to residents in parts of central Alberta if they come for COVID-19 testing at an AHS assessment centre.

H1N2 is not food borne and cannot be transmitted to people through pork or other products that come from pigs. Alberta Health said there is no risk associated with eating pork.

A public health investigation has been launched to determine the source of this virus and to verify no spread occurred.

Read more: Alberta records 2,268 new cases of COVID-19, 15 deaths since Friday

According to the province, some pigs who have the virus may not show any sign of illness, but symptoms can include fever, a barking cough, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation and a loss of appetite.

If those symptoms are present in a herd, the province recommends calling a veterinarian immediately and avoiding contact with any sick animals.

This type of virus does not usually spread to humans, but can happen following direct or indirect exposure to pigs.

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