What is flurona? Getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time

Jan 5 2022, 7:29 pm

Several jurisdictions around the world are reporting their first recorded cases of what’s being dubbed flurona — patients infected with COVID-19 and influenza at the same time.

The term describes having two illnesses at once; it’s not a new virus. But the phenomenon is still unsettling as flu activity climbs in the northern hemisphere this year after being dampened for much of the pandemic because of masking and distancing measures.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed it is monitoring a case of an individual co-infected with influenza and COVID-19 in Israel. According to the Times of Israelthe patient is a pregnant woman who is unvaccinated. She was discharged from hospital in stable condition in early January.

Flu cases are currently spiking in Middle Eastern country, and more than 1,800 Israelis were staying in the hospital because of the flu in late December. The trend is stoking fears that a twindemic of COVID-19 and flu could strike other countries.

In Canada, influenza cases are still well below their pre-pandemic levels. From December 5 to 11, there were 55 flu cases detected. That’s more than levels during the 2020-21 flu season though, when only 69 cases were discovered the whole winter.

PHAC said it’s not aware of any confirmed flurona cases in Canada yet, although people who aren’t admitted to hospital are rarely tested for influenza.

Spokesperson Anna Maddison said that co-infection with more than one respiratory disease is known to occur, although it is rare. Simultaneous infections with influenza and COVID-19 were documented in scientific literature as early as May 2020.

“More research is required to understand if this type of co-infection impacts disease severity or spread,”

On Wednesday, another patient in California was found to be infected with COVID-19 and the flu. According to a local news report, the case involved a teenage boy who had returned from a trip to Mexico with his family. He was experiencing mild symptoms.

Daily Hive has reached out to the testing agency that discovered the case for comment.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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