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Long Covid symptoms affect one in eight, study says – Health and Lifestyle News – Report by AFR

One in eight people who contract coronavirus will develop at least one symptom of Long Covid, one of the most comprehensive studies on the condition proposed Thursday.

With more than half a billion coronavirus cases recorded around the world since the pandemic began, there has been growing concern about the lingering symptoms in people with long Covid.

However, almost none of the existing research has compared people who have had Covid for a long time with people who have never been infected, making it possible that some of the health problems were not caused by the virus.

A new study published in The Lancet magazine asked more than 76,400 adults in the Netherlands to fill out an online questionnaire about 23 common long Covid symptoms.

Between March 2020 and August 2021, each participant completed the questionnaire 24 times.

During that period, more than 4,200 of them – 5.5 percent – said they had contracted Covid.

Of those with Covid, over 21 percent had at least one new or severely worsened symptom three to five months after infection.

However, almost nine percent of a control group that did not have Covid reported a similar increase.

This suggests that 12.7 percent of Covid patients – about one in eight – suffered from long-term symptoms, the study said.

The research also recorded symptoms before and after Covid infection, allowing researchers to pinpoint what was related to the virus.

It found that common long-term Covid symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, loss of taste and smell and general fatigue.

– ‘Great progress’ –

One of the study’s authors, Aranka Ballering of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, said Covid has long been “an urgent problem with an increasing human toll”.

“By looking at symptoms in an uninfected control group and in individuals both before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, we were able to account for symptoms that may be due to non-contagious health aspects of the pandemic, such as stress from limitations and uncertainty “, she said.

The study’s authors said its limitations included not covering later variants, such as Delta or Omicron, and not collecting information on some symptoms, such as brain fog, which have since been recognized as a common sign of long Covid.

Another study author, Judith Rosmalen, said “future research should include mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety, as well as aspects such as brain fog, insomnia and a feeling of discomfort even after minimal exertion.

Christopher Brightling and Rachael Evans, experts from Britain’s Leicester University who were not involved in the study, said it was “a major step forward” over previous lengthy Covid research as there was an uninfected control group.

“Encouragingly, new data from other studies suggest that there is a lower rate of long covid in people vaccinated or infected with the Omicron variant,” they said in a linked Lancet comment.

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