Turns out you can catch both at the same time 😷
It’s the mashup that no one wants: COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.
Health officials in Israel and the U.S. are reporting some rare cases of “flurona,” a combination of the coronavirus and influenza in a person who is infected with both at the same time.
Israel's first case of this was found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman in her 30s this week, CNN reports. The woman had mild symptoms and was in good condition when she was released from the hospital.
"The disease is the same disease," Dr. Arnon Vizhnitser, the director of the gynecology department at the hospital where the case was found, told the Times of Israel. "They're viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract."
A testing site in Los Angeles also reported its first co-infection of COVID-19 and the flu on Wednesday. The case was detected over the weekend in a child returning home from a trip to Mexico, NBC Los Angeles reports.
The boy had mild symptoms and no one else in his family had both viruses, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Another child tested positive for both viruses at Texas Children's Hospital this week, although the patient was sent home to recover, USA Today reports.
"This is one confirmed case," Dr. Jim Versalovic, co-leader of the hospital's COVID-19 team, said. "We'll be working with our colleagues across the country to see if there are more cases and whether we will see a distinct pattern."
The keyword with "flurona" is "co-infection," because it doesn't mean that the viruses have combined into one new virus, as the name may imply. Instead, they just happen to infect someone at the same time.
Researchers have actually been studying co-infections involving COVID-19 and the flu since the early days of the pandemic. And while doctors do worry about a "twindemic" of two diseases at once, that's not exactly what's being referred to here.
In other words, "flurona" is the 2022 term for the two viruses in one person, but they've been hitting patients at the same time since 2020.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.