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1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in the EU may have long COVID: WHO

JERUSALEM – New research suggests that at least 17 million people in the European Union may have experienced prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, with women more likely than men to suffer from the condition. the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. .

The research, conducted for WHO/Europe, did not make it clear whether symptoms that persist, recur or first appear at least a month after a coronavirus infection were more common in vaccinated or unvaccinated people. At least 17 million people met the WHO criteria for Long COVID-19, with symptoms lasting at least three months in 2020 and 2021, according to the report.

“Millions of people in our region, straddling Europe and Central Asia, are suffering from debilitating symptoms many months after their initial COVID-19 infection,” said Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, during a conference. in Tel-Aviv.

The modeling also suggests that women are twice as likely as men to experience prolonged COVID-19, with the risk rising sharply among severe infections requiring hospitalization, according to the report. One in three women and one in five men are likely to develop Long COVID-19, according to the report.

“Knowing how many people are affected and for how long is important for health systems and government agencies to develop rehabilitation and support services,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which conducted the research. for the WHO.

read more: You could have COVID for a long time and not even know it

The research, which represents estimates and not actual numbers of people affected, tracks some other recent studies on the long-term constellation of symptoms after coronavirus infections.

An American study of veterans published in Nature Medicine in May provided new evidence that Long COVID-19 can occur even after major infections in vaccinated people, and that older adults face higher risks from long-term effects. The study showed that around a third of those with advanced infections showed signs of prolonged COVID.

A separate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that up to a year after an initial coronavirus infection, 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 had at least one potential health problem from prolonged COVID-19, compared to 1 in 5 younger adults. .

Most people who have fully recovered from COVID-19. But the WHO report in Europe on Tuesday estimated that between 10% and 20% develop symptoms in the medium and long term, such as fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction.

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