Many people around the world kicked off 2022 by searching for more information about “flurona,” after Israel reported that two young pregnant women had tested positive for both the coronavirus and the flu.
Cases have been detected in countries including United States, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary.
Doctors have long been concerned about the potential impact of a “twindemic” — with influenza cases rising as covid-19 cases threaten to overwhelm hospitals — and called on people to get flu shots and coronavirus vaccinations. On the other hand, “flurona” refers to when one person has both respiratory infections at the same time — which health officials say is a possibility as cases of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus surge this winter across the world.
The coronavirus and influenza are respiratory infections, which can cause similar symptoms such as fever, coughing, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea, along with muscle and body aches. Both infections can be fatal, although the severity of each diagnosis depends largely on an individual’s immune system. Health workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk for each virus.
The World Health Organization notes that the viruses are also transmitted in similar ways, through droplets and aerosols that can be passed on by coughing, sneezing, speaking, singing or breathing — which is why masking to protect others is widely encouraged by officials.
While the word is relatively new and rising in popularity, cases of flu and coronavirus co-infections are not. And flurona is not a distinct disease.