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'Flurona' cases make headlines, doctors say co-infections are on the rise

Posted at 7:15 AM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 10:17:56-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The name "Flurona" might sound like a joke, but doctors say cases of people getting both influenza and the coronavirus are very real.

"It’s not mutated and it's not a brand new superbug. It's somebody who tested positive for both,” said Daliah Wachs, a board-certified family physician. Wachs said getting infected with both at the same time is rare, but it can happen.

If it does, Flurona can cause a serious respiratory infection. Wachs said it’s a concerning trend, especially now, when coronavirus cases are surging and both viruses are circulating at the same time. 

"Seeing the flu not being pushed away from omicron starts to make people a little anxious. I think the headlines are a symptom of people being a little nervous that we could have a deadly flu season and a deadly COVID season in our future,” Wachs said. 

The flu virus and COVID-19 stem from two very different virus families. Wachs said there shouldn’t be any concerns that the two will mix to create a new bug.

"When we heard there was a first official case out of Israel, we were a little shocked because we’ve been seeing confections of the flu and COVID-19 this whole time. We’ve seen it here, it just didn’t make national headlines,” Wachs said. 

For those looking to maximize their protection against the flu and COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccines for both can be administered at the same time.