While the world is witnessing a rapid rise in cases of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, a new infection dubbed ‘Florona’ has reportedly been detected in Israel.

According to The Times of Israel, Israeli authorities said an unnamed individual was found infected with the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

The infected individual, an unvaccinated pregnant woman, was found with mild symptoms at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

“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 gynaecology department, was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.

The woman was later released from the hospital when her condition improved.

Although this is the first such case of double infection in Israel, it may not be the first in the world, as people with double infections of flu and COVID-19 had been found in the US in 2020.

Here’s what we know so far about ‘Florona’

Not a new variant

Image: Courtesy of Viki Mohamad/@vikimo/Unsplash

Florona is not a new variant, but the patient has been detected with flu and COVID-19 at the same time. According to reports, Israeli doctors are studying the case amid a surge in influenza cases in the country over the last few weeks.

The Israeli Health Ministry is reportedly yet to determine whether the two viruses combined may cause more severe illness.

The scare comes while Israel has reportedly started vaccinating people with weak immune systems with a fourth COVID-19 jab.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) data reveals Israel recorded 8,243 deaths from 3 January 2020 to 29 December 2021.

The variants

Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron are the five currently designated variants of concern (VOCs) as per the WHO.

Omicron, which was recognised as a VOC on 26 November 2021, rapidly spread to 89 countries by 18 December as cases doubled in 1.5 to three days.

According to The Times of India, omicron cases in India crossed 1,700 on 2 January 2022.

On 20 December 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US said that “the variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown.”

The CDC report also said scientists are investigating “how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalisation, and death.”

Hero and Featured images: Menahem Kahana/AFP. The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

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