First case of 'flurona' detected in unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel

4 January 2022, 15:56 | Updated: 10 January 2022, 09:02

Medical staff at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel,Medical staff at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, where the "flurona" case was detected. where the "flurona" case was detected.
Medical staff at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel,Medical staff at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, where the "flurona" case was detected. . Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The world's first case of 'flurona', a rare mixture of influenza and coronavirus, has been detected in an unvaccinated pregnant woman in Israel.

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The woman, who was already in hospital, became infected with both illnesses at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva last week, the Times of Israel reports.

It is believed to be the world's first detected case of 'flurona' and her symptoms are said to be mild.

"The disease is the same disease. They’re viral and cause difficulty breathing since both attack the upper respiratory tract," Arnon Vizhnitser, the director of the hospital's gynecology department, told the Times of Israel.

The Israeli health ministry is studying the case of 'flurona' to find out whether being infected with both diseases leads to a more serious illness.

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While the unvaccinated pregnant woman is believed to be the first detected 'flurona' case, doctors in Israel believe there are more people suffering with both coronavirus and influenza simultaneously.

“We are seeing more and more pregnant women with the flu. It is definitely a great challenge dealing with a woman who comes in with a fever at childbirth,” said Prof Vizhnitser.

“This is especially when you do not know if it’s coronavirus or the flu, so you refer to them the same. Most of the illness is respiratory.”

Israel announced in the week before Christmas that it will offer a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to people older than 60, amid concern about the spread of the Omicron variant. They began delivering the jabs on Friday.

Read more: Several hospitals declare critical incidents as leader warns NHS 'in state of crisis'

Millions of people were urged to come forward for their flu jabs towards the end of last year, over fears thousands could die from it this winter.

People in England have also been urged to get their booster jabs in order to protect themselves against coronavirus and in particular the new variant - Omicron - which has been spreading across the country.

In recent days more than six hospitals have declared "critical incidents" following staff shortages due to thousands of people being off work because of Covid.

They have been forced to resort to emergency plans due to the shortages.

However, Boris Johnson said on Monday that he would "make sure that we look after our NHS any way that we can".

He said pressure on the health service was expected to be "considerable", adding: "I think it's vital that we make sure that we help them by trying to contain the pandemic in the ways that I've set out."