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Denver man recovers from 'flurona' as officials confirm 11 co-infections in the state

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Posted at 9:23 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 01:15:17-05

DENVER — By now, many have heard of the informal term "flurona" used to describe the co-infection of both the flu and coronavirus.

Since the beginning of the influenza season in October, there have been 11 identified cases of "flurona" among hospitalized cases, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed Friday.

Denver resident Jamie Grayson was in New York when he began noticing symptoms.

"I developed this cough, and I was like 'something is very weird, it doesn't feel like a normal sore throat,'" Grayson.

He immediately went to see a doctor and was tested for both the flu and coronavirus. Sure enough, he was positive for both.

Grayson canceled his flight back home in mid-December and quarantined in a hotel for 10 days.

"For a few days, it was like really bad night sweats and really bad sore throat and a cough, and then it kind of petered out and just more of a cough, and I have a remnant of that now."

While there has only been 11 incidences of the co-infection identified in the state, there are likely much more, according to Dr. Eric Hill, the emergency medicine physician at the Medical Center of Aurora.

"I can almost guarantee the incidence... is going to be much higher than what we actually have tested for it, and the reason is that we don't typically test for influenza," Hill said.

The symptoms can vary amid the fast-spreading omicron variant.

The omicron variant... seems to involve more the upper airway system," Hill said. "Influenza can kind of hit your lower respiratory tract. So, potentially, it could hit both of it [at the] same time that could make you sicker."

But Hill points out that every case will be different as the limited amount of positively identified cases in the state makes it hard for doctors to study its symptoms and impacts to a patient.

For Grayson, the bout with "flurona" didn't present any complications.

"I didn't feel like any doubled up symptoms or anything wild," Grayson said. "I just drank a lot of water and watched Food Network."