A pregnant woman in Israel was recently confirmed to be the first person in the world to contract both the COVID-19 virus and the flu virus. The case is called “flurona“, transplant from “flu” (the flu) and “corona” (SARS-CoV-2 virus).
Last winter, many countries with seasonal flu witnessed a strange phenomenon when the SARS-CoV-2 virus increased but the number of seasonal flu cases dropped to historic lows. This is because COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and unintentionally washing hands also work against the flu virus.
But in the winter of this year, when the disease prevention mentality was eased thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, the seasonal flu epidemic increased again. Epidemiologists therefore warned about the arrival of patients flurona, who have both flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
“I’m very concerned about that risk, because last year it seemed like we didn’t have a flu season. This year, the flu is circulating again“, said Dr. Thomas Russo, a professor and chair of the department of infectious diseases at the University of Buffalo.
And what comes will have to come, recently a case of flurona has been confirmed by doctors at Beilinson Hospital in the city of Petah Tikva, Israel. It was an unvaccinated woman who likely had the Omicron variant at the same time as the flu.
What if you get both the flu virus and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both seasonal flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets released from the respiratory tract of an infected person. Anyone is at risk for both at the same time when they come into contact with people who spread the virus.
Dr. Russo said you can meet someone with the flu, catch it from them, then meet someone with COVID and continue to get infected, or vice versa. It’s not like you’ve been infected with one virus and won’t get the next, because these two strains are not in competition.
“They use different receptors to infect your body [virus cúm nhiễm vào tế bào qua thụ thể glycolipid còn SARS-CoV-2 sử dụng thụ thể ACE2]. Therefore, you can get both flu and COVID-19 at the same time – then you will get flurona“, explains Dr. Russo.
“These two viruses, either virus can be deadly. So when they combine, it’s pretty bad“. Most of the flu and COVID symptoms overlap, he said, so people with flu don’t necessarily develop new symptoms.
According to the CDC, these are the common symptoms experienced by people with COVID-19 when infected with the Omicron variant:
– Fever or chills
– Cough Difficulty breathing
– Muscle or whole body pain
– Loss of taste or smell
– Sore throat
– Stuffy or runny nose
– Nausea or vomiting
As for the flu portion of the flu, the CDC says you may have any of these symptoms:
– Fever or feeling feverish
– Sore throat
– Runny or stuffy nose
– Muscle or whole body pain
Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
In the case of an Israeli pregnant woman infected with flurona, the most severe symptom she saw was shortness of breath, all other symptoms were quite mild. However, this is a new case, and experts are still working to determine if the combination of the two viruses can cause a more serious illness.
Beware of double epidemics
Professor Arnon Vizhnitser from Beilinson Hospital – where the Israeli woman was hospitalized said this flurona case is just one of many cases of pregnant women infected with the flu virus.
“Last year, we did not see any cases of influenza in pregnant or childbirth women. But this year we are starting to see cases of both coronavirus and flu coming out“, said Professor Vizhnitser.
“The flu itself is certainly a big challenge for a woman with a fever during childbirth. Especially when you don’t know if it’s the coronavirus or the flu.”
Just last week, a 31-year-old woman in Israel died after contracting the flu. This woman is 9 months pregnant and got sick 2 weeks ago. After being admitted to the hospital, the doctors decided to cesarean section for her. The baby was born healthy, but after the operation, the mother died of respiratory complications despite being placed on a ventilator.
Influenza also strikes children. Last month, a 6-year-old boy in Israel also died in his sleep from a fever. Medical experts believe the boy has suffered from myocarditis, a common complication caused by the flu virus.
For people infected with flurona, there is currently no specific treatment for it. Russo said the regimen is to treat each disease individually. You will be given oseltamivir (Tamiflu) within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.
And then there’s Pfizer’s COVID-19 antivirals or Merck’s molnupiravir if you qualify for them. But doctors may also decide to give flurona patients other COVID treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies or remdesivir, depending on their illness and facility conditions.
Health experts say the best method of preventing flurona is still getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, especially in colder climates where the spread of flu is strong. stronger.
In addition, preventive measures such as wearing a mask, limiting contact, and keeping social distance from others will still work to prevent both COVID-19 and seasonal flu viruses.
Refer to Mashable, Prevention