Flurona is a condition when a person contracts both influenza and coronavirus. should we be afraid of this new disease? Gilmore Health in this article will take stock of what is currently known about the condition.
The coronavirus is not done making headlines! Not a week goes by without something new hitting the headlines: a new vaccine, a new treatment, a new variant… Here’s the latest headline to start the year 2022: Flurona. In late December, an unvaccinated pregnant woman was hospitalized in Israel. Her case was unusual because she was infected with two viruses at the same time: influenza and SARS-CoV-2. Doctors have coined a word to describe this condition, Flurona, a compound of the two words influenza (flu) and coronavirus (rona).
Not the first case
Flurona is not a new virus or a new variant. It is simply a coinfection with two viruses at the same time. While the case is not common, it is not new. And while this is the first time Flurona has been reported, it is not the first time patients have had influenza and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time. Cases have been reported in the United States in 2020. And it is possible that there were other cases but they were not reported. In a fact sheet dated September 30, 2021, the WHO stated that “it is possible to have both diseases at the same time.”
It is possible to prevent Flurona
The great fear of Israeli authorities is that Flurona is a potentially more contagious or deadly disease than influenza or Covid alone. The young woman hospitalized in Israel actually had fairly mild symptoms, a simple breathing problem. She is now out of danger and has returned home.
There is no (or not yet) specific treatment just for Flurona, but there are vaccines against both viruses. It is even possible to get both vaccines on the same day, one in each arm! The WHO states that “the most effective way to prevent hospitalization and severe forms of Covid-19 and influenza is vaccination with both vaccines.”
As a reminder, in the US the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is available starting at age 5 and is recommended for everyone. Three doses are needed for optimal efficacy against Omicron the variant currently most prevalent in the US. The flu vaccine is also available to everyone starting at 6 months of age. Only one dose is needed. It is recommended for the most vulnerable people: people over 65, pregnant women, obese people, and people with chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.
Until we know whether co-infection with the Omicron-SARS-CoV-2 variant and the influenza virus will become a frequent condition early this winter, barrier measures and vaccination remain the best form of prevention.