One person tested positive for both influenza and coronavirus in Solano County, California, the county health department said.
Such co-infections are so rare and were the first to be reported in the county, not the country. At least two such cases have been reported, in Texas and Northern California.
Experts have warned that if Covid-19 infections remain high once the flu season begins, the United States could face a “pandemic”, with both viruses circulating at high levels.
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Much of that concern has focused on healthcare systems, which can be overwhelmed with the rise of both Covid-19 and influenza patients.
If both viruses start to circulate at a high level, it increases the risk of getting both viruses at the same time.
Dr. Bela T. Matyas, Solano County Health Officer, said: “With the possibility of both Covid-19 and seasonal flu this winter, having one of the two diseases could weaken the immune system. services and make you more susceptible to other illnesses ”. statement.
Little information is available about a Solano County patient except who is under 65 years of age. The first confirmed case of Covid-19 community spread in the United States was reported in the county in February.
In March, a doctor in Texas was reported to have been sick with both viruses at the same time. And a research letter published in April in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted a case of contracting flu-coronavirus infection in Northern California.
It remains unclear what common co-infections will look like.
“We are very hopeful that it won’t happen,” said Dr. Tara Bouton, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, predicts it is only a matter of time before there are similar cases.
Its popularity “depends on how flu season will be,” Chin-Hong said. “Nothing can prevent co-infection. It’s not like Covid comes and gets rid of all the flu. “
It is also not clear whether patients co-infected with influenza and Covid-19 will get worse, Bouton said. “However, there are some preliminary studies suggesting that that may be the case.”
Those are “all the reasons why people need to do everything they can to prevent that scenario, including getting a flu shot, wearing a mask when it is not possible to create the right social distance and washing. hand, “she said.
Matyas, Solano County Health Officer, offered similar advice.
“Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, and a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from getting seriously ill from the flu,” he said.
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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity in the US remains low, though it’s not uncommon at the beginning of flu season.
Covid-19 activity remains high in the US More than 90,000 new cases were reported on Thursday, according to an inventory of NBC News, and more than 500,000 new cases were reported in the past week.
More than 9 million cases have been reported in the US since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than 225,000 people have died.
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Akshay Syal contributed.