January 2, 2022
The first case of a potentially dangerous combination of Covid-19 and the flu has been discovered in a young, pregnant, unvaccinated woman in Israel.
The hybrid condition was diagnosed at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva earlier this week, when a woman went into labor.
“She was diagnosed with the flu and coronavirus as soon as she arrived. Both tests came back positive, even after we checked again,” the head of the hospital’s gynecology department, Professor Arnon Vizhnitser said, as quoted by newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, which was the first to report on the double infection case.
He added that the patient had mild symptoms and that influenza and Covid are actually the same disease because both attack the upper respiratory tract. The woman was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.
“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 and you do not know if it’s coronavirus or the flu, so you refer to them the same. Most of the illness is respiratory,” Vizhnitser said.
According to the outlet, the Health Ministry is assessing the case to find out if a combination of the two viruses can cause more severe illness.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Center for Disease Control has recently reported a sharp increase in flu cases, prompting the Health Ministry to warn that the virus “can cause serious illness such as pneumonia, various respiratory tract infections, myocarditis and even death.” It called upon “all members of the public aged 6 months and older” to get vaccinated for influenza, adding that flu shots can be administered alongside Covid-19 vaccination.
Scientists around the world are assessing the potential risks of combinations of various viruses and variants of Covid. Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, warned last month that a combination of the Delta and Omicron Covid-19 variants could create a new, more dangerous strain.