The United Kingdom saw it’s fifteenth death related to the H1N1 swine flu yesterday, which should be an event of dubious notoriety. Quite frankly, the way this thing is spreading, seeing more deaths from it (especially in the coming flu season) is something it might behoove us all to prepare for.

What makes this passing notable, though, is the fact that it is the first death since the virus was confirmed in the United Kingdom in March that seems to be attributable solely to the flu virus. To date, patients in the UK with swine flu have died of complications from other underlying health issues. The patient who died yesterday, whose name is being withheld at the request of relatives, appeared to die of swine flu and nothing but swine flu.

But we’re not the only ones who will have to deal with this disease, which has recently proven that it can go home again. The H1N1 flu strain that is spreading among human populations right now can also be passed from humans to pigs, according to a recent study published in The Journal of General Virology.

The bad news is that this news provides a whole new factor in the spread of the current flu pandemic. The good news, though, is two fold – first, it seems that pigs remain unable to transmit the virus to humans. And second, chickens also involved in the study failed to fall ill from the virus, suggesting that pig or human to bird transmission is not possible. Yet.

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