‘Flurona’: Double infection of COVID-19, flu raises ‘twindemic’ fears
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Israel confirmed its first case of “flurona” which refers to an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
Israel confirms first case of Flurona
According to the Times of Israel, a case of “flurona” was found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman displaying mild symptoms. This prompted the Health Ministry of Israel to study the case to see whether a combination of the two viruses caused more severe illness.
Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva said that some reports suggested that this is the first of such a dual case in the world, even though reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the United States in 2020.
There are now fears of a “twindemic” of the two diseases as the number of flu cases has seen a spike over the last couple of weeks.
Last winter, those fears were not realised when COVID-19 restrictions largely stamped out flu cases. However, this year has proven different.
It is believed that there are many others who have been infected with both viruses, but have not yet been diagnosed.
“The disease is the same disease. They’re viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract,” said Arnon Vizhnitser, the director of the hospital’s gynaecology department.
It is said that experts across the world have taken interest in the case.
More severe symptoms or not?
Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said it was not yet known whether the combination of the two viruses was more severe.
“We don’t always know whether that makes things more severe or not, but the message, for pregnant women in articulary, you’re certainly at increased risk of going to the hospital, going to intensive care and having an adverse outcome for your unborn child if you’re not vaccinated,” he told Nine’s Today.
“So the critically important message from “flurona” is that we’ve got a vaccine for both COVID-19 and influenza, and we should be taking them.”
Increase in number of influenza cases in SA
Last year, South Africa saw a spike in influenza cases in November 2021 as a result of the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions to control COVID-19, combined with an immunity gap due to influenza not circulating for two years (2020 and 2021) in South Africa.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, reported that even though they received reports of clusters of influenza cases in schools and workplaces, absolute numbers remain relatively low compared to previous years.
Alicia Adendorff is a reporter for Healthy Organic Lifestyle.