Long COVID is defined as causing persistent symptoms or new symptoms appearing more than 4 weeks after the initial infection. In March 2022, in the UK alone, there were around 1.5 million long-term COVIDs, with the main symptoms, long-lasting, being fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss of taste and difficulty concentrating. However, the incidence of long COVID after an infection diagnosed as mild and the association of long COVID with certain factors including age, sex, different variants and vaccination status remain poorly understood.
The study therefore compared the health of uninfected people with that of patients who developed mild COVID, followed for 1 year after infection, using data from the records of a public health organization in Israel, comprising approximately 2 million people for covid-19 between March 1, 2020 and October 1, 2021. 70 COVID symptoms or complications were considered in the analysis and the incidence and duration of these conditions were compared between vaccinated and unvaccinated participants, with and without COVID infection, taking into account possible confounding factors including age, sex, variants.
Only benign forms were evaluated,
patients admitted to hospital and ICU were excluded.
The analysis reveals, or confirms that:
- COVID infection is significantly associated with an increased risk of several conditions, signs or symptoms, including loss of smell and taste, trouble concentrating and remembering, difficulty breathing, weakness or fatigue , palpitations, streptococcal tonsillitis and dizziness at the beginning and end of the infection, as well as hair loss, chest pain, cough, muscle aches and difficulty breathing rather late in the period recovery ;
- compared to uninfected people, participants who developed mild COVID had a 4.5 times higher risk of loss of smell and taste early in infection and almost 3 times higher during recovery;
- the overall burden of infection-related conditions over the 12-month study period is higher for fatigue and weakness and difficulty breathing;
- breathing difficulties are the most common symptom in 5 of the 6 age groups and the most persistent, throughout the first year after infection, especially in the age groups 19-40 years, 41-60 years and in the over 60s;
- weakness is prevalent in 4 of 6 age groups and persists late, in the 19-40 and 41-60 age groups;
infected vaccinated people are at a decidedly lower risk of breathing difficulties but a similar risk for other symptoms,
compared to unvaccinated infected patients.
While the analysis has certain limitations, including sometimes incomplete data from health records, and a likely over-representation of people using health services more frequently among study participants, it is detailed, based on a population diverse, and this is one of the longest follow-up studies in patients with mild COVID-19 to date.
These findings, the researchers write, can be applied to Western populations around the world.
In summary, the study suggests that even mild COVID cases will induce a small number of health problems that persist after recovery from infection, and that most of these are resolved within a year of the onset. diagnostic. Finally, the study again underlines the effectiveness of vaccination, particularly against respiratory complications, including the risk of persistent dyspnoea, but also respiratory distress syndrome often mentioned and which can be fatal.
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