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Long Covid: 1 in 8 develop symptoms months after coronavirus infection

Researchers used survey data from the Netherlands in the early stages of the pandemic to estimate long-term covid prevalence


August 4, 2022

A man recovering from covid-19 in a hospital in The Hague, Netherlands, April 2020

REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

One in eight adults infected with covid-19 in the early stages of the pandemic developed prolonged covid symptoms, according to Dutch survey data.

long covid The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as an illness that usually occurs within three months of the onset of covid-19 and symptoms last at least two months. These cannot be explained by another diagnosis, chest pain, loss of smell and muscle pain.

It is difficult to determine how many people will experience these long-term effects due to covid-19 infection, as symptoms have many causes.

Alanka Balling Professors from the University of Groningen surveyed more than 76,000 adults in Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen in the north of the Netherlands between March 31, 2020 and August 2, 2021. .

Researchers initially surveyed people’s health weekly. After that, from June 2020 he surveyed participants every two weeks, and from August 2020 he surveyed them only once a month.

During the study period, 4251 people were diagnosed with covid-19 for the first time. The team matched each of these people with two others of the same age and gender who were uninfected.

By comparing people infected with covid-19 on the same day with matched controls, researchers could better determine whether symptoms experienced three to five months after infection were caused by long covid. I was able to judge

They defined long covid as a condition in which at least one symptom increased to moderate severity three to five months after a person developed covid-19. According to this definition, 1 in 8 people infected with covid-19 in this study developed long covid. Loss of smell and taste, muscle pain, and general fatigue were the most common symptoms of long-term COVID-19.

The team also found that the severity of long-term COVID-19 symptoms took time to return to baseline levels. in women compared to men. Some studies suggest that women face greater barriers to health care and so seek help with symptoms later.

The researchers didn’t know if these symptoms lasted longer than five months, or how much they interfered with their daily activities.

with ancestors Alpha SARS-CoV-2 variant was most prevalent during the study period, so the findings were People infected with other variantsNo studies have shown What impact could vaccines have had on the long covidBecause most of the data was collected before the vaccine was available, only 10% of the participants were fully vaccinated by the end of the study.

Approximately 98% of those surveyed were white and all lived in the Netherlands, so these results may not apply to other ethnic or national groups.Also, it is unclear how much covid risk changes when people become infected repeatedly infected with virusessays Ballering.

Say, “I think these numbers are underestimated.” Danny Altman at Imperial College London. “What I can say from my research is that I think we are underestimating covid, not overestimating it long term.”

He says the study highlights gaps in our knowledge of long covid. It’s about understanding.”

Journal reference: lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01214-4

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Long Covid: 1 in 8 develop symptoms months after coronavirus infection

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