Jan 13, 2022
0 0

“Coronaflu” or “flurona”: will we see a surge in the simultaneous infection of influenza and COVID-19?

What is the danger of “flurona” and why is it so much talked about?

Epidemiologists are paying increased attention to the potential danger of co-infection with coronavirus and influenza, primarily due to the fact that two serious infections can create a literally “deadly cocktail” for patients. Both viruses are especially dangerous for children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, and pregnant women. After the flu, as with the coronavirus, long-term symptoms can develop.

“Together, they can definitely be more harmful to the lungs and cause even more acute respiratory failure, which is very life-threatening,” Michael Matthay, an intensive care specialist at the University of California, is quoted by CNN. The expert added that the combination of flu and coronavirus significantly increases the risk of long-term consequences for the body.

Adrian Burrowes, a family medicine physician, believes that contracting two dangerous infections at the same time can be “a disaster for the immune system.”

So far, doctors have very limited remedies for the treatment of coronavirus in their arsenal, and there is very little data on how effective they are in combination with etiotropic therapy for influenza.

However, so far the fears of doctors have not been confirmed – a pregnant unvaccinated woman in Israel, infected with coronavirus and influenza, endured Flurona quite easily.

The flu is back, but there is no epidemic

Epidemiologists have been warning about the possibility of a “double whammy” of two dangerous viruses since the very beginning of the pandemic, and in 2020 WHO recommended strengthening seasonal influenza vaccination. Fears were not confirmed: the incidence of influenza reached an absolute minimum, and in the second half of the year it practically disappeared. According to scientists, it’s all about increased prevention and restrictions during the pandemic: as soon as people began to wear masks, wash their hands, maintain social distance and visit public places less often, the incidence of influenza plummeted.

In 2021, the flu returned, and experts expected a serious increase in the incidence due to the lack of an “immune layer” in the population. However, the epidemic did not happen again either in Russia or in other countries. In November-December, Rospotrebnadzor reported that the epidemic threshold for influenza and SARS was exceeded, and as of January 11, 2022, a decrease in the incidence of respiratory infections is observed in Russia. Cases of simultaneous infection with influenza and coronavirus in Russia have not been registered.

According to the leading expert of the association “MedLabExpert” Alexander Solovyov, at the moment there is no threat of widespread “coronaflu” in our country, but this probability remains. In particular, an increase in the incidence of influenza may occur later, for example, in February and March, and against the background of the wide spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, cases of double infection may appear.

Other countries are actively preparing for a similar scenario: for example, in the UK, they began screening patients with symptoms of SARS using highly sensitive tests that detect various types of respiratory infections.

How is co-infection with influenza and COVID-19 diagnosed?

To confirm the “mix” of two infections, laboratory diagnostics are necessary, and Russia has all the conditions for this, said Alexander Solovyov. Just like COVID-19, influenza is confirmed using a PCR test, which was widely used in clinical practice long before the pandemic.

“Moreover, Russia has its own combined tests for determining various types of pathogens, they are available in both public and commercial laboratories. In clinical practice, screening is performed in hospitalized patients with pneumonia of unknown origin or severe respiratory infection. As far as I know, there are no combined tests for influenza and COVID-19 anywhere in the world, but they will appear in the future.”

Solovyov Alexander

Artwork @2xexpert
ic snowflake@2xleading expert of the association “MedLabExpert”

Ic facebook blue@2x

The expert added that the simultaneous infection with influenza and coronavirus is far from the only threat, since many respiratory infections circulate in winter, dangerous for different groups of patients. For example, epidemiologists in the UK do not rule out that a sharp increase in hospitalizations of children under 5 years of age with coronavirus may be associated with simultaneous infection with respiratory syncytial virus, which is traditionally high in the winter months.

How to protect yourself from corona flu?

According to Alexander Solovyov, the most reliable way to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and influenza is to get vaccinated against both infections. The influenza vaccination campaign has officially ended, but you can still get the vaccine at the clinic or commercial medical centers. If for some reason you’ve been putting off getting your flu shot, now is the time to do it. As for the interval between vaccinations against COVID-19 and influenza, Rospotrebnadzor recommends waiting at least a month.

Article Categories:

Leave a Reply