Nearly half of people infected with COVID-19 experienced some ‘long COVID’ symptoms, the study shows
Nearly half of people infected with COVID-19 experienced some ‘long COVID’ symptoms, the study shows

Nearly half of people infected with COVID-19 experienced some ‘long COVID’ symptoms, the study shows

Around the world, 43 percent of those infected with COVID-19 experienced post-COVID conditions, according to a new analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, which looked at data from 50 studies and 1.6 million people .

“I was really surprised to see the results of this meta-analysis, and in particular that fatigue and memory problems were the two most frequently reported post-COVID conditions,” he said. Bhramar MukherjeeJohn D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor and Chair of Biostatistics at the UM School of Public Health and senior author of the study, published this week in the Journal of Infectious Disease.

The World Health Organization offered a clinical case definition of post-COVID conditions in October 2021 as medium- and long-term symptoms occurring in individuals following COVID-19 infection, also known as long COVID.

Mukherjee and team examined the prevalence of this condition globally and regionally, and estimated the proportion of individuals facing long-term COVID in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Global prevalence of post COVID-19 conditions 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after infection was estimated to be 37, 25, 32, and 49 percent.
  • Regionally, Asia had the highest prevalence after COVID-19 with 51 percent, followed by Europe with 44 percent and North America with 31 percent.
  • Fatigue (23 percent) and memory problems (14 percent) were mentioned as the most common symptoms in people with post COVID-19 condition.
  • Some lingering symptoms after COVID-19 remain in about 34 percent of non-hospitalized COVID patients, while the rate jumps to 54 percent for hospitalized COVID patients.

The researchers suggest that the changing landscape of COVID-19 due to new variants may have consequences for the occurrence of long COVID and symptom burden in the future, highlighting the milder symptoms of the Omicron variant on vaccinated and previously infected populations. They also point out that different protocols in long COVID diagnosis worldwide make it challenging to synthesize studies.

Chen Chen and Spencer Haupert, lead authors of the study, and graduate students in biostatistics note that understanding the risk factors for long-term COVID will better prepare healthcare providers and systems to develop post-COVID management plans.

Long covid is fairly common overall and across geographic regions, gender, and acute COVID-19 severity. Knowing this, providers should take proactive approaches so that their patients are well supported when experiencing long-term health effects of COVID-19. , “they wrote.

In addition to Mukherjee, Chen and Haupert, Lauren Zimmermann, Xu Shi and Lars Fritsche – all from UM’s School of Public Health – were involved in the study.

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