Double whammy? After COVID-19, Flurona fears begin to surface

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Highlights

  • A woman in Israel has been diagnosed with flurona, a combination of flu and COVID-19.
  • Israel's health experts have now warned of a "twindemic," which might result in a surge of people reporting these double viruses.
  • The Centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) recommends influenza vaccine to anyone aged six months and above.

While the world is already terrorised by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 virus, a new trouble ‘flurona’ has made its way to worsen the situation. Flurona, a combination of flu and COVID-19, has found its first prey in Israel.

A pregnant woman who recently gave birth in Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva (Israel) was diagnosed with flu and COVID-19 simultaneously. She had mild symptoms and was released from hospital soon after recovery. The woman was not vaccinated against COVID-19 or influenza.

While some reports suggest this as the world's first simultaneous case of flu and COVID-19, there have been other reports suggesting individuals had both flu and COVID-19 in the United States as early as spring 2020.

So, to have a clearer picture, let’s read more about flurona.

Do read: Delta & Omicron show hoarding vaccines hurt advanced economies too

What is Flurona?

According to health experts, ‘flurona’ is not a new virus, but a case of double infection of the influenza as well as coronavirus. The presence of both these viruses in the body could cause severe symptoms and complications, mostly related to the respiratory system.

According to doctors at Beilinson, the case of flurona was relatively mild. Arnon Vizhnitser, director of the hospital’s gynecology department stated that the infection is of similar nature with both being viral and causing breathing difficulties. In both the cases, the respiratory system is attacked.

Health officials of Israel have now warned of a “twindemic” that could lead to a rush in hospitals with patients reporting of these double viruses. They believe many more people have been afflicted with both viruses but are yet to be diagnosed. In recent weeks, Israel has faced a spike in the number of flu cases with approximately 2000 people being hospitalised.

Israel's Health Ministry has urged everyone to get flu vaccine shots. Anyone above the age of six months can get the immunisation. In addition, the government has urged that everyone should receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

The Health Ministry of Israel is also studying the case to see whether a combination of the two viruses can cause more severe illness.

Influenza symptoms and diagnosis

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Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease which affects the respiratory system and is caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe, at times leading to death. Fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches are some of the common symptoms of flu.

“Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs)” are the most common type of tests for detecting flu. Other tests are also available such as rapid molecular assays, and immunofluorescence assays. Antiviral drugs are also available for lessening the symptoms and shortening the time of sickness by flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States, recommends that healthcare professionals should continue to recommend and administer influenza vaccine to anyone aged six months and up. Vaccination protects against four different viruses and is expected to prevent hospitalization and death from presently circulating influenza viruses as well as new influenza viruses that may emerge later in the season. Antiviral drugs for influenza are an important supplement that should be used in addition to immunisation.

Also read: What is Australia doing to curb omicron?


 


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