A Los Angeles COVID-19 testing center has confirmed the city’s first case of ‘flurona,’ which is when an individual has the novel coronavirus and influenza at the same time.
Per CBS LA, a patient at the center with mild symptoms tested positive for both at the same time. The teenage boy had traveled home with his family following a trip to Cabo San Lucas, and was the only family member who tested positive for both. One of his parents tested positive for COVID-19, but they did not show any symptoms.
The term “flurona” describes when someone is infected with influenza and COVID-19 simultaneously, per CNN. The term has only recently surfaced, likely due to the arrival of the flu season as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. It’s worth pointing out that during the first year of the pandemic, influenza cases were lower on account of lockdowns and the usage of masks. It should also be stressed that ‘flurona’ is not a new strain of COVID, but a cocktail of the two viruses.
“I don’t think this is going to be a common situation, but that’s something to consider,” Israeli National Advisory Committee member Nadav Davidovitch told CNN this month. “It’s interesting that after you have a year with a very, very low or not at all influenza activity, the next year because people were less exposed, it makes them more vulnerable.”
Since there are readily available vaccines for both viruses, Davidovitch said the combo is unlikely to exhibit “major effect on the individual” if they are up to date with their shots.
As noted by the World Health Organization last year, both viruses are spread through droplets. They also exhibit some similar symptoms, but the double-infection should only be cause for concern among immunocompromised individuals. There is currently a very low number of confirmed ‘flurona’ cases worldwide, as it is not a distinct disease like the Omicron or Delta variants of COVID-19.