Long COVID common in U.S. adults with prior COVID-19 infection

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Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID.

Long COVID can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months, or longer.

Long COVID conditions are found more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had a mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.

In a study from Massachusetts General Hospital, scientists found nearly 15 percent of U.S. adults with a prior positive COVID-19 test reported current symptoms of long COVID.

They estimated the prevalence of, and sociodemographic factors associated with long COVID.

They used data from participants in eight waves of an internet survey (Feb. 5, 2021, to July 6, 2022; 16,091 U.S. adults reporting test-confirmed COVID-19 illness at least two months prior).

The researchers found that 14.7 percent of respondents reported continued COVID-19 symptoms more than two months after acute illness, which represents 13.9 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19, or 1.7 percent of all U.S. adults.

Older age per decade above 40 years (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.15) and female gender (adjusted OR, 1.91) were associated with a greater risk of long COVID.

In contrast, people with a graduate education versus high school or less and urban versus rural residents were less likely to report long COVID.

People also found long COVID was less likely to get the infection during periods when the epsilon variant or the omicron variant predominated.

The risk for long COVID was also diminished with the completion of the primary vaccination series prior to acute illness.

This study suggests that long COVID is prevalent and that the risk varies among individual subgroups in the United States; vaccination may reduce this risk.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about how vitamin B may help fight COVID-19, and this face mask can capture and deactivate COVID-19 virus.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that new antiviral drug may block COVID-19 transmission, and results showing when you should get the new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot.

The study was conducted by Roy H. Perlis et al and published in JAMA Network Open.

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