The man tested positive for both influenza and coronavirus in Solano County, California, the county’s health department said.
Such coinfection is rare so far and is the first such case to be reported in the county but not in the country. At least two such cases have been reported in Texas and Northern California.
Experts have warned that if Covid-19 cases remain high with the start of flu season, the United States could face “twindemic”, with both viruses circulating at high levels.
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Much of this concern has focused on health systems that could be overwhelmed by the influx of both Covid-1
If both viruses begin to circulate at high levels, this increases the risk of infecting both at the same time.
“With the likelihood of both Covid-19 and seasonal flu activity this winter, infection with any of the diseases can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease,” said Dr. Bella T. Matthias, Solano County Health Officer Declaration.
Little information was provided about the patient in Solano County, except that the person was under 65 years of age. The first confirmed case of Covid-19 distribution in the United States by the community was reported in February.
In March, a Texas doctor reportedly contracted the two viruses at the same time. And a research letter published in April in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted a case of influenza coronavirus coinfection in Northern California.
It is not yet clear how common coin infections will be.
“We very much hope it won’t be,” said Dr. Tara Button, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, predicts that it is only a matter of time before such cases occur.
How often it will be “depends on what the flu season will look like,” Chin-Hong said. “There is nothing to prevent coinfection. It’s not like Covid to come in and remove the whole flu. “
It is not yet clear whether patients with influenza and Covid-19 co-infection will do worse, Button said. “However, there are several preliminary studies that suggest that this may actually be the case.”
This is “an even bigger reason why people should do everything possible to prevent this scenario, including getting vaccinated against the flu, wearing a mask when appropriate social distancing is not possible, and washing their hands,” he said. she.
Matyas, a health official in Solano County, had similar advice.
“Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever, and flu shots are the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from serious flu,” he said.
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Influenza activity in the United States remains low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although this is not uncommon at the beginning of the flu season.
Covid-19 activity remains high in the United States. More than 90,000 new cases were reported on Thursday, according to NBC News, and more than 500,000 new cases were reported last week.
More than 9 million cases have been reported in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than 225,000 people have died.
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Akshai Sial contributed.