One in eight Covid patients have long-term symptoms
One in eight people who had the coronavirus developed Long Covid, according to a large-scale population survey in the Netherlands. That means they struggle with long-term symptoms like chest pain, loss of smell and taste, shortness of breath, fatigue, or muscle pain after infection.
The research, the results of which were published on Friday in the scientific journal The Lancet, was done by, among others, UMC Groningen and Radboudumc. The researchers analyzed the health data of nearly 13,000 Netherlands residents who regularly completed questionnaires on their health.
The study started in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began. The researchers compared the symptoms of people who contracted the coronavirus with the symptoms they had before they became infected. They also compared symptoms to people who did not have the coronavirus in the same period.
In this way, the researchers could map the changes in symptoms due to other causes, explained researcher Judith Rosmalen of the UMCG. “For example, because of the change of seasons, because people developed new diseases, or because living conditions changed due to the pandemic and its measures. That is why data from the general population is indispensable.”
Rosmalen now wants to further investigate the cause of Long Covid and to what extent people with the disease can still function, for example, at work. “We also ask what care people have received and how they experienced it,” said the professor of psychosomatics. “With all the data, care pathways are developed to provide patients with the right care and to calculate the costs, both through medical costs and lost productivity.”
The researchers can’t say why some people develop Long Covid, and others don’t.
Reporting by ANP