Four cases of 'flurona' reported in Lexington

Posted at 7:28 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 19:34:33-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette County is reporting four cases of COVID-19 and flu coinfections. The number only includes those reported to the health department.

The combination, dubbed 'flurona' is uncommon, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Coinfections could happen with any two viruses that are circulating at the same time.

It does not mean that the two combined to form a single virus.

The first U.S. cases of 'flurona' were reported in California, Texas, Kansas, and North Carolina.

Dr. Mark Dougherty infectious disease specialist with Baptist Health Lexington says there hasn't been a pattern in Kentucky.

"'Flurona' is a really catchy name, but so far, that hasn't seemed to be a major problem and I think we really wouldn't have a problem picking that up right now because most of our more rapid COVID PCR tests also include influenza," said Dr. Mark Dougherty infectious disease specialist with Baptist Health Lexington.

Taylor Bullock and Jacob Rains are from Pulaski County and Whitley County. Both had never heard of 'flurona' before they were infected.

"The doctor told me that it would get, the symptoms would get worse over the next couple of days, and she was right," said Bullock. "The only way I can describe it is rubber bands wrapped around my lungs, and when I would take a breath in it felt like it would just pull and stretch, and then as bad as that was on top of that I had to deal with the flu symptoms as well."

Bullock says she got vaccinated for COVID-19 but did not get a booster or flu shot.

"I do honestly feel like if I wasn't vaccinated, I would have definitely ended up in the hospital, possibly setting up pneumonia," said Bullock.

Rains is not vaccinated for COVID-19 or Flu.

"Really the symptoms that I only really had was having a fever, not really having an appetite, and basically having lightheaded dizzy spells," said Rains.

Dr. Ashley Montogomery- Yates says what's important to remember is that everyone will respond differently.

"I tell people all the time the flu vaccine is never you know, I wish it prevented flu but what it really does is help prevent people from dying of flu and that's what the COVID vaccine does to prevent hospitalization and prevent severe illness," said Montogomery-Yates.

"So what I would say is that if you get vaccinated, you get both flu and COVID and you're at home talking about it, then that's a success, right? You didn't wind up on a ventilator, you didn't wind up in a hospital, and you may be sick and the symptoms of flu and COVID can oftentimes overlap and be hard to tell, which one is which, but I would not consider that a defeat at all."

Dougherty says right now the Omicron variant is everywhere, and he's also worried about a shortage of healthcare workers.

"We have a huge shortage of nurses right now and other health care workers. So that's affected our ability to take care of patients. We've struggled with staffing. Right now, we have more of a shortage of healthcare workers than we do physical hospital beds," said Dougherty.