What is ‘Fluorona’? Coronavirus and influenza co-infections reported as omicron surges.


New year, new coronavirus word?

Many people around the world began 2022 by searching for more information about “flurona,” when Israel reported that two young pregnant women had tested positive for both the coronavirus and the flu.

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Doctors have long worried about the potential impact of a “twindemic” – cases of influenza rising as Covid-19 cases threaten hospitals – and called on people to get flu shots and coronavirus vaccinations. On the other hand, “Fluorona” refers to when a person has both respiratory infections at the same time – which health officials say is a possibility as cases of the highly contagious Omicron type of coronavirus increase this winter around the world. are.

Here’s what we know so far.

– Are the cases of fluorona new?

After two young pregnant women in Israel tested positive for both the coronavirus and influenza, several local and global media outlets made headlines with what it dubbed “flurona”. The Sun, a British tabloid, increasingly termed co-infection as “double trouble”.

While the term is relatively new and is growing in popularity, cases of flu and COVID-19 co-infection are not. And fluorona is not a separate disease, but refers to when a person has been infected with both viruses. Examples of fluorona have been found in countries including the United States, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary, some even before the term was coined.

According to a report in The Atlantic, there were instances of co-infection in the United States about two years ago. In February 2020, a man entered a New York hospital with severe cough and fever. At that time, the city had not officially reported any cases of coronavirus. The patient tested positive for influenza and was then tested for coronavirus. Weeks later, the results confirmed that she had contracted the virus, along with three family members.

– Where is Fluorona reported?

There have recently been other incidents in the United States. A Houston teenager was forced to spend Christmas Day in isolation in his bedroom after contracting the coronavirus and the flu at the same time. Alec Zierlen, who was vaccinated against the coronavirus but didn’t have the flu, was also tested for a sore throat, but results confirmed he only had the former two infections, which he called “like a mild cold.” Told. After his diagnosis, Zierlein told ABC News that he didn’t know about the coronavirus and that the flu could “pile on each other” and that in the future, he would get a flu shot as a precaution.

A health official in the Philippines has also said that such co-infections are not uncommon. Edsel Salvana, a member of the National Health Department’s technical advisory group, said the country’s first Covid-related death was from a combined case in early 2020. Salvana told reporters that the initial pandemic patient, a Chinese national, was Covid-19. and influenza B, as well as Streptococcus pneumoniae, according to local outlet ABS-CBN.

An initial case report showed that the patient, the world’s first known Covid-19 death outside China, had fever, cough and chills. “It’s an unfortunate confluence of events that you are exposed to two pathogens,” said Salvana, who reminded the public to get vaccinated for flu and pneumonia.

Broadcaster RTL reported on Monday that Hungary has identified at least two cases of the flu in recent weeks. As in Israel, both patients were reported to be young and about 30 years old.

And Brazil is battling an out-of-season flu outbreak, just as Omicron cases begin to rise. The health officials there have confirmed six cases of Fluorona in three states. Rio de Janeiro’s municipal health secretary, Daniel Soranz, told Spanish news agency EFE that 17 more cases were also being investigated. In one incident, a 16-year-old tested positive for both viruses but had mild symptoms, which her mother attributed to a thorough vaccination against both viruses, she told Brazilian media.

– Is fluorona more common this year?

According to Arnon Viznitsar, director of gynecology, at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital, where doctors recently diagnosed two pregnant women with both infections, cases of influenza A as well as the coronavirus have risen amid the Omicron outbreak. are.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Visnitzer said that while flu cases were down last year, perhaps because of more stringent lockdown measures and social distancing, they are roaring back.

“This year is different from last year. Now we have another challenge,” he said, predicting that co-infection will probably continue.

Some countries are on track to be hit hard by the flu this year, while strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus have largely prevented a “twinemic” scenario in 2020.

This is the case in the United States, which had record lows last winter as the number of Covid surges, but now flu cases are on the rise. Europe’s flu season is also just getting started – and likewise it is expected to get worse this year.

Wijnitzer said both pregnant women had similar symptoms and were given treatment to reduce their fever. The two were immediately isolated before returning home with healthy children. According to Visiontiser, only one woman was vaccinated against the coronavirus. It was extended as well. The second patient had not received any type of vaccine against any virus.

Pregnant patients visiting the Israeli hospital, Beilinson, are being tested for both viruses if they have symptoms on arrival. In Israel, which is aggressively ramping up its vaccination program, some medical workers with more than 60 people are being given a second booster.

Are flu and covid more dangerous together?

While many countries track cases of the coronavirus and the flu, there seems to be little data on how many people have them at the same time. As more reports emerge about co-infections, health experts and doctors insist that coronavirus and flu vaccines are the best way to protect against serious infections.

“If you are vaccinated, the disease is very mild,” Wijnitzer said of both the coronavirus and the flu. “Women Who Haven’t Been Vaccinated” [against covid] was very ill.”

It is also likely that some patients will not be offered testing for both infections, with hospitals around the world using different methods to treat and diagnose patients.

What are the symptoms of Fluorona?

Coronavirus and influenza are respiratory infections that can cause similar symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea, as well as muscle and body aches. Both infections can be fatal, although the severity of each diagnosis depends largely on a person’s immune system. Health workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are each at greater risk for the virus.

The World Health Organization notes that the virus spreads in a similar way, through droplets and aerosols that can be passed on by coughing, sneezing, speaking, singing or breathing – which is why officials are wearing masks to protect others. is widely encouraged.

Sammy Westfall of The Washington Post in Manila, Sofia Diogo Mateus in London and Miriam Berger in Washington, DC contributed to this report.

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