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Postacute Sequelae of COVID-19 at 6 to 12 Months After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Postacute symptom clusters and possible sequelae, particularly fatigue and neurocognitive impairment, were self-reported 6–12 months after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in a population-based, cross-sectional study of adults ages 18–65 years in southern Germany. The findings represent a “considerable burden,” the investigators conclude, with “a substantial impact on general health and working capacity” evident in all age groups, including young and middle-aged adults after mild infection.

The study assessed symptom frequencies 6–12 months after versus before acute infection, symptom severity and clustering, risk factors, and associations with general health recovery and working capacity. In 11,710 people (mean age, 44.1 years; female gender, 58.8%; hospitalized with COVID-19, 3.6%) at a mean follow-up time of 8.5 months, these findings were observed: “The symptom clusters fatigue (37.2% (4,213/11, 312), 95% confidence interval 36.4% to 38.1%) and neurocognitive impairment (31.3% (3,561/11, 361), 30.5% to 32.2%) contributed most to reduced health recovery and working capacity, but chest symptoms, anxiety/depression, headache/dizziness, and pain syndromes were also prevalent and relevant for working capacity, with some differences according to sex and age. Considering new symptoms with at least moderate impairment of daily life and ≤80% recovered general health or working capacity, the overall estimate for post-covid syndrome was 28.5% (3,289/11 ,536, 27.7% to 29.3%) among participants or at least 6.5% (3,289/50 ,457) in the infected adult population (assuming that all non-responders had completely recovered). The true value is likely to be between these estimates.”

Source: BMJ