The simultaneous infection of COVID-19 and the common flu (influenza) has once again gained relevance after Israel reported a first case in its territory: a young pregnant woman who was discharged in the first week of the year. However, this double contagion – popularly baptized as’fluron‘(flu for flu in English and rona for coronavirus) – actually it has been more frequent, but little reported in the world.
Since the start of the pandemic, especially during the fall and winter seasons, co-infection has been observed in countries such as the United States, China, Brazil, and even Peru. For example, in November 2020, an investigation at the Dos de Mayo National Hospital in Lima, reported five patients (three men and two women) infected with COVID-19 and influenza (most of them type A).
Of the total, four people were older than 50 years and one of 20. However, neither mortality nor a differentiated treatment with ventilatory support or antiviral medication was observed in any of them.
It should be noted that the so-called ‘fluron’ is not a disease, but a simultaneous infection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and influenza, two different viruses that cause respiratory complications.
A difficulty in tracking ‘flurone’ cases lies in some similar symptoms shared by the coronavirus and the flu virus, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, nasal congestion, and body and throat aches, as indicated by the CDC. . Even, according to recent studies, the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus would increasingly look even more like a common cold.
Cesar Cabezas infectious disease doctor and former head of the National Institute of Health (INS), declared to La República that double contagion depends on the dynamics of the virus, since “the one with the highest replication is more likely to produce a higher viral load and displace the other”, as happened in the first waves of SARS-CoV-2 when there were still no vaccines and “almost all the respiratory infections were from COVID-19”.
Dr. Cabezas maintains that infections depend on variables such as “the dynamics (speed) of virus replication of the guest conditions and from environment (social conditions) ”.
“When one virus predominates over the others, they will be the most reported in the statistics,” said Cabezas. “Surveillance of respiratory viruses is done randomly and if the appearance of others is shown, it is increased using multiplex molecular tests, which include the detection of various respiratory viruses,” he said.
Due to the same low number of reported cases, there are no conclusive studies on the severity of ‘flurone’ in our body or at what frequency it may actually be happening.
Regarding gravity, Cabezas believes that “The answer is variable. To see a pattern you would have to see more cases. In situations like this, it is better to prevent while the studies progress “.
The infectologist also pointed out that “a greater probability of co-infections and the severity of cases can occur in older people and patients with chronic diseases (cardiac, pulmonary, kidney, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, hepatic or hematological), immunosuppression ( due to HIV / AIDS, chemotherapy, corticosteroid therapy or malignant neoplasms) and pregnant women (due to immunological tolerance) ”.
Likewise, “as the form of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and that of influenza is similar by aerosols and microdroplets, the measures chosen for COVID-19 are equally useful.”
Thus, preventive measures continue to be “the use of a mask, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds, complete vaccination against COVID-19 as it has been carried out and obviously the influenza vaccine”, an endemic virus that it always mutates and whose vaccine to counteract it is different every year.