Flu variant linked to pigs identified in Manitoba

WINNIPEG –

The Manitoba government is advising people about a variant case of the flu virus that has been identified in the province.

Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development said the variant H1N2 has been identified and reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

This specific variant is a virus that comes from pigs.

“Influenza viruses from pigs do not normally infect humans,” the province said in a news release. “However, sporadic human infections with influenza viruses that normally circulate in pigs have occurred. When this happens, these viruses are called ‘variant viruses.'”

The case was identified in October after the person wasn’t feeling and they were tested for COVID-19.

The province said the person’s symptoms were mild and their test came back negative for COVID.

The test was later identified as the variant influenza case as part of regular influenza surveillance.

“The individual had direct exposure to pigs. Based on available evidence, the current assessment is that there is no increased risk to people, with no evidence of human-to-human transmission at this time.”

The government added there also isn’t a risk to the food supply chain.

Officials are reassuring people that this isn’t a food-related illness and they cannot get the variant from pork meat or by eating pork.

“Health officials, in conjunction with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, have performed a public health investigation to determine the source of the virus and have not identified any further spread.”

If people who work with pigs or poultry get tested for COVID-19, they are told to identify themselves as agricultural workers so officials can see if there are any more influenza cases.

Officials said this variant does no spread easily among humans and are considered rare but they also have tips for people to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

People are told not to take food or drinks into pigs areas and they should put anything in their mouths while in pig areas, avoid contact with pigs that look ill, wash your hands before and after interacting with pigs, and avoid pigs if you have flu symptoms. Anyone who is a high risk to complications should avoid pigs and pig barns.

For information on this flu variant, people can visit the Government of Canada’s website.

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