What Is Flurona Disease
“Flurona” is an informal term that refers to dual infection with the flu virus and the coronavirus. Learn more about co-infection with the flu and COVID-19

“Flurona” is an informal term that refers to dual infection with the flu virus and the coronavirus. In January 2022, an unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel was reportedly diagnosed with the first case of flurona. 

While there have been flu and COVID-19 co-infections in the past, the beginning of the flu season in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised more concern regarding co-infections.

Both the flu and COVID-19 are viral respiratory illnesses, and co-infection with the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 could lead to more severe disease, especially in the elderly and immunocompromised. Available data does not provide clear information as to how serious co-infection may be, but the risks cannot be ignored as the flu season begins the COVID-19 variant Omicron continues to spread at an alarming rate.

What are the symptoms of flurona?

Symptoms of flurona, flu, and COVID-19 are difficult to differentiate. Respiratory infections generally present with the following symptoms:

There may be other nonrespiratory symptoms as well, such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite

If you notice symptoms or have been exposed to infection, contact your doctor so that appropriate treatment may be provided. Isolate yourself to prevent the spread of infection to others.

Is flurona a new variant of SARS-CoV-2?

Flurona is not a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. 

A new variant of a virus occurs when a virus mutates, which can change its infectivity or pathogenicity (ability to cause disease). Many times, mutations do not affect either infectivity or pathogenicity of a virus.

Omicron is the latest COVID-19 variant, which spreads faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 and Delta strains. However, it is unknown whether Omicron is more infectious that the Delta variant or causes more severe illness.

According to present data, the available vaccines can protect against the Omicron variant at least partially by reducing the likelihood of infection and severity of illness if infection does occur. This is especially important in the elderly and those with lung diseases and compromised immunity. Although breakthrough infections can occur in fully vaccinated people, the likelihood of hospitalization and serious disease is quite lower than in unvaccinated people.

How can you protect yourself from flurona?

Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can protect against flurona, or flu and COVID-19 co-infection. Available vaccines are safe and effective against both viral infections. You should also get your booster shots whenever you are eligible to reduce your likelihood of severe illness. 

In addition to getting vaccinated, practice social distancing, follow respiratory and hand hygiene, avoid crowded places, and wear properly fitting masks. 

Consult your physician regarding the flu vaccine most suitable for your health condition.

Table: List of flu vaccines available in the United States
Type Brand name Administration Indications
Quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot Flucelvax Quadrivalent Injectable Ages 4 and older
Recombinant quadrivalent influenza shot

Flucelvax Quadrivalent

Injectable Ages 18 and older
Quadrivalent flu shot using an adjuvant Fluad Quadrivalent Injectable Ages 65 and older (elicits a stronger immune response)
Quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Injectable

Ages 65 and older (contains a higher dose of antigen for better immune response)

Live attenuated influenza vaccine FluMist Quadrivalent Intranasal

Ages 2-49

Contraindicated in those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, have a history of reaction to the vaccine, aged over 50, and have conditions that may cause cerebrospinal fluid leaks

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Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022
References
Image Source: Stock Images

https://ncpa.org/newsroom/qam/2022/01/05/flurona-comes-us

https://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=269672

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31052-7/fulltext