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12% Long COVID Incidence Amidst Omicron BA.5 Wave: Study

Long COVID Incidence Amidst Omicron

United States: A recent study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases reports an 11.8% incidence of long-term COVID amidst the Omicron BA.5 wave, derived from observations of 25,911 individuals aged 20 years and above.

In July 2022, Japan faced its seventh COVID-19 wave, instigated by the Omicron subvariant BA.5, the researchers noted.

“The Omicron variant generally induces milder acute symptoms and presents an equal or diminished risk for post–COVID–19 conditions compared to earlier variants,” the researchers stated, adding, “However, the prolonged effects and risks of post–COVID–19 conditions in those infected with the Omicron variant, as opposed to non-infected groups, remain uncertain,” according to CIDRAP News.

The research encompassed adults aged 20 to 69 years who had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections between July and August 2022. These individuals participated in a survey approximately six months post-infection, detailing the presence of 26 symptoms. The cases were juxtaposed with control groups, and any symptoms were evaluated based on their severity and impact on daily life.

Cough Dominates as the Most Persistent Symptom

The study revealed an 11.8% prevalence of post–COVID–19 conditions among the cases, while 5.5% of the control group exhibited persistent symptoms. The most common enduring symptom was a cough (3.7%), followed by concentration difficulties (3.1%), hair loss (2.8%), fatigue (2.4%), and cognitive impairment (2.2%).

As per reports by CIDRAP, the odds ratio (OR) for persistent symptoms in cases versus controls was 2.33 (95% confidence interval, 2.05 to 2.64).

“Among the cases, female sex, preexisting medical conditions, and the severity of acute COVID-19 were linked to the occurrence of post–COVID–19 conditions. We advocate for prolonged monitoring to assess the long-term impacts on daily life and socioeconomic status following infection during the Omicron-dominant wave,” the researchers concluded.

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