A study of adults in Switzerland who had contracted COVID-19 found that a quarter of them still had symptoms for six to eight months following their illness. Fatigue, shortness of breath and depression were the most common long-term symptoms reported among the group, which the study authors said highlights the need for post-COVID-19 care.
“This cohort study based on a representative, population-based sample of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals found that 26% did not fully recover within 6-8 months after diagnosis and 40% had at least one further health care contact related to COVID-19,” the study authors, from University of Zurich, Switzerland, said. “These findings underline the need for the timely planning of health care resources and services tailored to the needs of individuals suffering from post-COVID-19 syndrome.”
The study, published in PLOS ONE, included 431 participants, all of whom tested positive between February and August 2020. According to the data, 89% were symptomatic at the time of diagnosis, and 19% required hospitalization. The average age was 47.
Researchers found a higher percentage of females and hospitalizations in the group whose symptoms had not resolved 6-8 months post-diagnosis. Among the 26% who reported “long-COVID-19” symptoms, about 55% had fatigue, while 25% had shortness of breath and 26% had symptoms of depression.
Studies involving long-COVID are underway around the world with researchers seeking to identify causes, risk factors or even relief for patients who report symptoms many months after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis. In Europe, several studies have suggested that the phenomena may also occur in children.