What is “flurona?”
Israel recently confirmed what is believed to be one of the first documented cases of an individual infected with both the flu and COVID-19, dubbed “flurona.”
An unvaccinated pregnant woman tested positive for both illnesses last week at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, according to the Times of Israel.
ISRAEL DETECTS CASE OF ‘FLURONA’ IN UNVACCINATED PREGNANT WOMAN
“The disease is the same disease. They’re viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract,” Arnon Vizhnitser, the director of the hospital’s gynecology department, told the newspaper.
In the U.S., experts warned this winter about concerns over a potential “twindemic,” and urged Americans to get a flu shot and vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19.
In 2020, before the surge of the delta and omicron variants, flu dropped to its lowest levels in decades, with just one report of a pediatric flu death during the season.
Vaccination uptake then was largely similar to the previous year, with preliminary estimates indicating that 50%-55% of adults got a flu vaccine. Influenza vaccination coverage in children dropped 4.1 percentage points to 58.2%.
This year is a different story, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 1,825 patients were admitted to hospitals with influenza this week.
CDC: FLU VIRUS DETECTIONS ON THE RISE, EARLY SIGNS VACCINATION DOWN
An agency map depicts flu activity as “very high” in Georgia, North Dakota – where the rate of flu vaccinations for children continues to drop – and New Jersey.
As of Dec. 24, the CDC reports that 172.5 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed. There are early signs that fewer people are getting flu shots compared with last year.
Multiple influenza-associated deaths have already been reported, including that of an adult in North Carolina and two pediatric deaths, as well as outbreaks on college campuses.
Two years ago, 199 children died from the flu, while 144 died the year before that.
“People 5-24 years account for most cases so far this season; however, the proportion of flu illness in people 25-64 years is increasing,” the CDC warned in December.
Flu has traditionally been America’s biggest infectious disease threat, accounting for 600,000 to 800,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 to 60,000 deaths on average every year.
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Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 56 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and more than 827,800 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Fox News’ Paul Best and The Associated Press contributed to this report.