More than 160 cases of ‘flurona’ have already been detected in England, MailOnline can reveal — but experts say true toll could be in the region of 1,000 and insist it the fears are ‘overhyped’.

Data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows of the 8.6million people in England who tested positive for Covid by the end of November, 169 also had influenza — 0.002 per cent.

Chiefs of health said that the actual number of patients who have been infected with both viruses simultaneously will rise and that around 33% of hospitalized patients needing intensive oxygenation have secondary infections.

Infections with coronavirus (influenza) and influenza have been confirmed in two people in Europe this week.

Doctors who are currently monitoring the cases reported only mild symptoms. A top expert also said that flurona concerns have been ‘overhyped.

Although flu has been declining in the UK since the outbreak, cases were at their lowest in more than 130 years. This was due to restrictions that prevented Covid from spreading.

Experts predicted that this flu season could see 60,000 more deaths than the normal 10,000 to 25,000 per year. 

But data from the Office for National Statistics — which groups death data for flu and pneumonia — shows this category of fatalities were a fifth lower in November than the five year average in England.

MailOnline was told by experts that the chance of getting dual infection will increase if there is a flu epidemic this winter.

The UKHSA graphic shows the number of Covid patients who tested positive for another virus within a day of having their Covid infection confirmed (black bar). It also shows the number of people who tested positive for another virus within 28 days before testing positive for Covid (light blue bar) and within 28 days after having their Covid status confirmed (blue bar)

UKHSA graph shows how many Covid patients tested positive for another viral infection within the first day following their diagnosis (black bar). This graphic shows how many people tested positive for another disease within the first 28 days of being confirmed positive for Covid.

UKHSA data shows the rate of people per 1,000 individuals in England presenting with flu-like symptoms rose towards the end of 2021. The graph shows the number of people visiting their GP (green), phoning their GP (blue), visiting hospital (black), phoning NHS 111 (yellow) with flu-like symptoms. But flu deaths in England were a fifth below the five-year average in November, according to ONS data, and experts warn the flu season is yet to kick off

UKHSA data indicates that flu-like symptoms in England increased towards the end 2021. This graph displays the numbers of flu-like symptoms that people have reported to their GPs (green), to their GPs (blue), and visiting hospitals (black). According to ONS data flu deaths in England fell by a fifth in November compared to the previous five years. Experts warn that flu season has yet to begin. 

According to the UKHSA, 93 Covid cases were confirmed as having influenza A. 37 of these had influenza B. Four had an unknown type.

However, the numbers only cover October 24, just before Omicron took off to infect as many people as possible by New Year’s Eve. 

UKHSA acknowledged that the number could be underestimated, because flu testing is not widely accessible as Covid. 

What exactly is flurona? 

Covid-infected people have been called ‘fluronas’. 

This virus is not new. People can become infected by both the virus and the other at once.

Data released by Public Health England in 2020 — before vaccines were rolled out — showed those who caught Covid and flu were twice as likely to die.

And the most recent figures from the UK Health Security Agency shows that around a third of Covid patients who are put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a machine that takes over a patient’s heart and lung functions — are also infected with another virus.

Experts warn that fears about flurona are exaggerated, since it’s common to contract more than one type of respiratory virus simultaneously.

While acknowledging that they may not have caught all the cases, UK health officials found only 0.002 percent of those who contracted Covid also had flu symptoms – approximately one in 50,000.

About half the cases of influenza were found within one day of being tested positive for Covid. Other infections could be detected up to a month after a positive test.

These figures represent just 0.02 percent of all Covid cases with concurrent flu infections. 

Close to half (62) of all coinfections were found in the three-months prior to the outbreak, which ended June 28, 2020.

Meanwhile, 32 were registered during the second wave  — between June 29 2020 and April 26 2021.

There were 40 reported cases between October 24, 2021 and April 27, 2021.

These 35 additional cases were discovered between October 25th and November 28. It is the most severe pandemic outbreak to date.

The UKHSA said around a third of Covid patients who are put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a machine that takes over a patient’s heart and lung functions — are also infected with another virus.

And data released by Public Health England in 2020 — before vaccines were rolled out — showed those who caught Covid and flu were twice as likely to die.  

However, Professor Julian Tang of Leicester University’s virologist said to the Times that people who have both Covid and flu don’t automatically become sicker.

He stated that children could have four or more respiratory viruses at the same time.

MailOnline spoke with Dr Simon Clarke from Reading University. A microbiologist, Clarke said there appears to be a “fairly low” amount of flu currently in the UK. Therefore, the risk of contagious disease is not high.

However, he cautioned:Both viruses can cause serious illness. However, you can reduce the risks by being vaccinated against them both. 

Increased numbers of one infection can increase the chance of getting both.

“Due to the fact that both flu viruses are tested uncoupled, it’s possible for us to underestimate the number of cases.

“It would surprise me if Covid and flu co-infections were below one thousand.”

MailOnline spoke with Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia. He said that respiratory virus coinfections are generally worse. 

He said that people who had flu or Covid at the outbreak of the pandemic were twice as likely to need intensive care and hospitalizations than those who did not have the virus.

UKHSA data shows 81.4 per cent of over-65s came forward for their flu jab by the end of 2021. NHS England said this is the highest uptake ever recorded among the cohort, above the 80.9 per cent figure from last winter. Meanwhile, 49.2 per cent of under-65s in a clinical risk group and 37.1 per cent of pregnant women got the injection

UKHSA data indicates that 81.4 percent of older adults opted for flu shots by 2021. NHS England claimed that this uptake is more than 80.9 percentage points from last year. 49.5 percent of patients aged 65 and under received the injection, while 37.1 percentage of women who were pregnant got it.

Data from the UKHSA shows preschool vaccination rates are lower than 2020's record uptake. Some 49 per cent of three-year olds and 46.6 per cent of two-year olds received the flu jabs so far this winter

UKHSA data has shown that pre-school vaccination rates are much lower than the record 2020 uptake. Up to 49.6% of children under three years old and 46.63% of those aged two or more have received flu shots this winter.

Professor Hunter stated that the NHS faces a problem if they have to handle two pandemics at once.

Since the last two years there have not been any bad flu seasons.

Although the UK Health Chiefs had recorded coinfections with both virus strains at the start of the pandemic in the UK, there was renewed concern about flurona after Israeli health chiefs revealed that an Israeli pregnant woman was tested positive for both viruses at Beilinson Hospital.

Director of the Gynaecology Department at the hospital, Professor Arnon Vizhnitser said that the patient was immediately diagnosed with coronavirus and flu. Both of her tests were positive even though we did a second check.

“The same disease” Both are viral infections that cause difficulties in breathing, since they both affect the upper respiratory tract.

This week, the woman will be released.

Vizhnitser stated that he is seeing more and more pregnant mothers with flu symptoms. Dealing with pregnant women with fevers during childbirth is a difficult task.

‘This is especially when you do not know if it’s coronavirus or the flu, so you refer to them the same. Most cases of respiratory illness are minor.

In the US, two flurona cases later emerged. A child infected was confirmed by doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital Monday.

A second child was diagnosed in Brentwood, California. Their symptoms, according to their boss at the testing agency that had diagnosed them, were mild and can be mistaken for sinusitis.

Both of the children were at home recovering and had not been admitted to hospital. 

Dr Jim Versalovic, a pathologist-in-chief and Covid command centre co-leader at the Texas hospital said on Monday that medics across the US were working to identify more ‘flurona’ cases and determine if there is a pattern in infection.