Physicians from hospitals in the Swiss city of Geneva have found that some of the troublesome symptoms of COVID-19 could last more than six weeks, even in patients without underlying risk factors.
A team of physicians and epidemiologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), and the General Health Directorate of Geneva canton carried out the study.
It followed nearly 700 people who tested positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 disease, but did not require hospitalization.
Six weeks after diagnosis, 33% of them still reported suffering from fatigue, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, or cough.
Since its appearance in early 2020, COVID-19 has been unpredictable for both physicians and affected individuals, given the variety and duration of its symptoms, the University of Geneva said in a press release.
"Notably, it appears to have the potential to cause an unusually long-lasting illness, and the term 'long COVID' describes the disease in people who continue to report symptoms several weeks following the infection," said the university.
"As soon as the pandemic arrived in our country, we were confronted with these questions," said Idris Guessous, a physician epidemiologist at the community health and medicine department of the UNIGE.
The study followed 669 people with an average age of 43 years, with 60% female, 25% health care professionals, and 69% without underlying risk factors related to complications from COVID-19.
At six weeks from diagnosis, nearly a third of participants still had one or more symptoms related to COVID-19, mainly fatigue (14%), loss of taste or smell (12%), and shortness of breath (9%).
Also, 6% reported a persistent cough, and 3% reported headaches.
"In addition to the physical distress of their symptoms, many were very worried: How much longer would it last? Were some after-effects irrecoverable?" said Dr. Mayssam Nehme, author of the work and part of Guessous' team.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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