Six in ten people with COVID-19 still have at least one symptom a year later, a new study being presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Lisbon, Portugal (23-26 April) has found.
The researchers in Luxembourg also found that COVID-19 symptoms that don’t clear up after 15 weeks are likely to last at least a year.
The Luxembourg Institute of Health, Strassen, Luxembourg, surveyed almost 300 people a year after they were diagnosed with COVID-19.
The 289 participants (50.2% women) had an average age of 40.2 years and were divided in three groups, based on the severity of their initial infection: asymptomatic, mild and moderate/severe COVID-19.
They were asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire about whether they were experiencing 64 common long Covid-related symptoms.
They also filled a questionnaire on sleep quality and one that looked at the effect of respiratory symptoms, such as breathlessness, on quality of life.
Six in ten (59.5%) participants had at least one long Covid symptom a year after their initial infection, with fatigue, shortness of breath and irritability the most common.
A third (34.3%) were experiencing fatigue a year on, 12.9% said respiratory symptoms were affecting their quality of life and more than half (54.2%) had ongoing sleep problems.
Participants who’d had moderate/severe COVID-19 were twice as likely to still have at least one symptom a year on than those whose initial infection was asymptomatic. Having had moderate/severe COVID-19 was also associated with more sleep problems after a year than being asymptomatic (63.8% vs. 38.6%).