OHS Canada Magazine

Alberta confirms Canada’s first human case of swine flu in central part of province


EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says Canada’s first confirmed case of H1N2v, a variant swine flu virus found in humans, has been detected in the central part of the province.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Dr. Keith Lehman, the province’s chief veterinarian, said in a statement Wednesday that it’s an isolated case and there’s no increased risk to Albertans.

The statement said the virus was detected in mid-October after an Albertan with mild influenza-like symptoms sought medical care.

Officials said H1N2v is rare with only 27 cases reported globally since 2005. They said there have been no cases in Canada before this one.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a national public health institute in the United States, says on its website that swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, but notes sporadic infections have occurred in the U.S. When that happens, they are called ‘variant’ viruses and a ‘v’ is added to the end of the name.

Alberta Agriculture said H1N2 is known to occur in pigs around the world and is caused by the type A influenza virus.

Optional testing available

The statement said health and agriculture officials are investigating to verify that no spread has occurred.

“(Alberta Health Services) will proactively offer influenza testing to residents in parts of central Alberta, if they are presenting for COVID-19 testing, at an AHS assessment centre,” said the statement.

“This testing will be optional and supports our ongoing influenza surveillance in the region.”

Officials point out that H1N2 is not a food-related illness.

“It is not transmissible to people through pork meat or other products that come from pigs and there is no risk associated with eating pork,” said the statement.