WHO warns Europe to watch out for symptoms as Swine Flu case discovered

People are being advised to be on the lookout for swine flu symptoms after a case was discovered in the Netherlands, prompting a World Health Organisation (WHO) warning following the deadly pandemic in 2009.

During the outbreak, which occurred more than a decade ago and resulted in around 400 deaths in the UK, schools were shuttered, individuals were exhorted to practise good hygiene, and foreign travel was discouraged.

Leaflets were distributed to every home, and the Catch It, Kill It, Bin It campaign was utilised to persuade people to keep their hands clean and to practise ‘excellent respiratory hygiene’.

The WHO has issued an alert following the discovery of a case of H1N1, also known as swine flu, in the Netherlands on September 2nd, with no clear indication of the source.

The alert reads: “This is the first human infection caused by influenza A(H1N1)v virus reported in the Netherlands in 2023. Worldwide sporadic human cases of influenza A(H1N1)v have been reported previously, including from the Netherlands. According to the International Health Regulations (IHR,2005), a human infection caused by a novel influenza A virus subtype is an event that has the potential for high public health impact and must be notified to the WHO.

“This case was picked up as part of routine surveillance of respiratory illnesses. Based on the available information, there is no clear indication of the source of infection, and no direct contact with pigs was reported. As of September 7, there were no symptomatic contacts of this case and no further detections have been reported in routine surveillance. All five close contacts were followed for 10 days – the maximum incubation period and none developed symptoms.”

The NHS states that swine flu symptoms are similar to the regular seasonal infection.

It said: “The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal flu and include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.”

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