Here's What To Know About The Rare Flu Type Found In Canada
Most important: it is not easily transmitted between people.
Canada's top doctor announced today that a super-rare flu strain has been found within the country. In fact, it is the nation's first case of this particular kind of illness ever. The virus was detected in October after an Alberta patient first reported their symptoms.
While it may be disconcerting to hear about yet another illness on top of everything the world is dealing with in 2020, there are some key things to know about this strain of influenza. Those include where it comes from, what symptoms it can cause, and whether it is likely to spread or not.
What type of flu is it?
The H1N2v influenza is a type of swine flu. It is most commonly found among pigs, but the lower case 'v' at the end of its name indicates that it can make the jump to humans.
This particular type of flu falls under the category of type A influenza viruses. These are very common strains, and the Centers For Disease Control notes that they commonly cause seasonal epidemics (otherwise known as flu season).
However, when a new form of type A influenza emerges, it can have the potential to cause a pandemic, such as H1N1 did in 2009.
What are the symptoms?
Like any other type of flu, this one has all the symptoms you might expect. That includes minor things like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
However, there can be more uncomfortable signs of the illness as well, including muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, nausea, and vomiting or diarrhea.
More serious cases of the flu can sometimes result in pneumonia, and the patient could require hospitalization in these instances.
Most people recover within 10 days, and the illness can be treated with the same antiviral drugs used for seasonal flu.
Can it spread?
Considering that the entire world is facing down a pandemic involving a highly contagious coronavirus, it's fair to wonder if this very rare strain of flu can spread.
The answer is that yes it can, but mostly just among pigs. In fact, they can infect each other the same way as humans, through expelled water droplets from coughs and sneezes. They can even transmit it without symptoms.
However, the jump from pig to human is incredibly rare. Since 2005, only 27 cases have been found in people: 24 in the United States, two in Brazil, and now one in Canada.
This strain of flu does not transmit easily between humans, and prevention involves much of the same things everyone is currently doing: washing their hands, staying home if they're sick, and not touching their face.