Simultaneous flu, COVID cases — ‘flurona’ — reported amid omicron surge

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ohio has reported the third flu-related infant death this season.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The coronavirus pandemic has a new term — “flurona” — to describe a simultaneous influenza and COVID-19 infection.

An unvaccinated teenager in Los Angeles on Wednesday became the first person in the U.S. known to have the dual diagnosis this flu season after testing positive for both COVID and the common flu.

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Others also have tested positive for both the flu and COVID in Texas and Florida, and before that in Israel, Brazil, the Phillippines and Hungary, according to media reports.

Flurona is not a separate disease or a combination of the two, but is the term used to describe patients with COVID-19 and the flu either together or back-to-back.

Both are respiratory diseases and can cause similar symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, headache and fatigue, and both are spread through droplets and aerosols when an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Dual illnesses have happened before in the U.S., first recorded as early as 2020, according to reports.

However, health experts are concerned about the possibility of a “twindemic,” when COVID-19 cases spike during an aggressive flu season and overwhelm the country’s already strained health care system.

The omicron variant has fueled a surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations and accounts for the majority of infections.

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The CDC so far has reported an increase in common flu cases compared to last season; however, the last flu season lacked vigor and was the least harmful in a decade.

One way to prevent infection is vaccination, experts say.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available for anyone 5 and older, and the CDC says seasonal flu shots can be given to those 6 months and older.

For more information about vaccination, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or your local health care provider.

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