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Israel reports world's first 'flurona' influenza-COVID double infection

Israel reports world's first 'flurona' influenza-COVID double infection
An elderly Israeli man receives his fourth COVID-19 vaccination in the Meuhedet Clinic in Jerusalem on Monday. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The world's first documented case of "flurona," or simultaneous infections of COVID-19 and influenza viruses, has been recorded in Israel, doctors said.

The first known case of the double infection was identified in a woman who was giving birth last week at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, the Times of Israel and the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported.

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Hospital officials said the young mother, who was not vaccinated against either illness, did not suffer any permanent consequences and was released from the hospital on Thursday.

Doctors at the Rabin Center's Beilinson Hospital said her case was relatively mild.

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"She was diagnosed with the flu and coronavirus as soon as she arrived," gynecology department director Arnon Vizhnitser told reporters. "Both tests came back positive, even after we checked again. The disease is the same disease -- they're viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract."

Despite the woman's mild symptoms, Israel's health ministry is studying her case to determine if the "flurona" combination can lead to more severe illness than either of the two viruses alone, doctors said.

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The case came amid a worrying increase in seasonal influenza cases in the Middle Eastern nation.

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The Israeli Center for Disease Control reported a sharp increase in flu hospitalizations during the week of Dec. 18 when nearly 1,900 patients were admitted, including more than 605 children and 124 pregnant and birthing women.

Health officials urged everyone 6 months or older to get vaccinated against influenza, which can be administered alongside a COVID-19 vaccine.

Seasonal flu cases are also on the rise in the United States, where more than 1,800 people were hospitalized with influenza during the week ending Dec. 25, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was up from 1,270 admissions the previous week.

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Schoolchildren return to class in Israel

Students wear protective masks as they return to the Yankus Korchak Elementary School in Jerusalem on May 18. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

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