WASHINGTON D.C. — As omicron surges and COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the rise, a new variant was located in France and some countries are documenting cases of “flurona.”
The new COVID-19 variant was named IHU and has infected 12 people living near Marseilles in southern France. Health officials have found IHU has 46 mutations, which is even more than were found in omicron.
The cases have been linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.
The new strain has not been spotted in any other countries yet and the World Health Organization (WHO) has not labeled the new strain as being a variant under investigation.
Experts say that new variants do keep emerging, but that does not mean they will be more dangerous.
While this new variant was located and the omicron variant has accounted for 95 percent of new infections in the U.S. in the last week, some countries are documenting their first cases of patients with both the flu and COVID-19 or “flurona.”
The CDC said that both the flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses, but COVID-19 can spread easier than the flu and can cause more severe symptoms.
Both have symptoms that can include fever or feeling feverish/having chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose, but those with the flu can experience symptoms one to four days after infection while those with COVID-19 can experience symptoms from two to 14 days after infection.
The CDC said that because some of the symptoms are the same, testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis.
The WHO and the CDC have not yet confirmed if having both at the same time is worse or milder than having the illnesses separately, but they do urge getting both a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine.