Less than 72 hours into 2022 and we’ve already got a new nightmare to keep us awake at night: flurona.
The world’s first verified case of a double infection pairing influenza and coronavirus infections has been identified in Israel in a pregnant woman who was not vaccinated. Early in the pandemic, there were some reported cases of dual infections in the U.S. before the coronavirus was fully understood, but none were verified with the World Health Organization.
The Israeli patient is said to have not known she had either virus when she went into labor late last week. She had relatively mild symptoms and was tested upon entering the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel. “The disease is the same disease,” Arnon Vizhnitser, the hospital’s gynecological director, told the Times of Israel. “They’re viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract.”
Israel’s health authorities, who just launched its second booster campaign for people with compromised immune systems, have expressed fears of a “twindemic” as the number of influenza cases starts to rise due to a mismatch in this year’s flu vaccine and the current persistent influenza variant.
Last week, a 31-year-old pregnant woman died from complications of influenza when she was nine months pregnant. Her son, delivered via Caesarean section, survived. In December, a 6-year-old boy died from myocarditis—a flu complication—in Israel.
The nightmare combination flurona follows the emergence in Europe of Delmicron, a combination of Delta and Omicron variants in COVID-19 that has caused more severe symptoms in some patients, especially those who have not been vaccinated.