Persistent Symptoms and Sequelae After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection Not Requiring Hospitalization: Results From Testing Denmark, a Danish Cross-sectional Survey

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  • Maarten van Wijhe
  • Kamille Fogh
  • Henrik Nielsen
  • Lars Østergaard
  • Berit Andersen
  • Charlotte S. Jorgensen
  • Bibi F. S. S. Scharff
  • Svend Ellermann-Eriksen
  • Isik S. Johansen
  • Anders Fomsgaard
  • Lothar Wiese
  • Freddy Lippert
  • Anders Koch
  • Christian Erikstrup
  • Anne-Marie Vangsted
  • Anna Irene Vedel Sorensen
  • Henrik Ullum
  • Robert Leo Skov
  • Lone Simonsen
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with persistent symptoms (“long COVID”). We assessed the burden of long COVID among nonhospitalized adults with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In the fall of 2020, a cross-sectional survey was performed in the adult Danish general population. This included a self-administered point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–associated symptom questions. Nonhospitalized respondents with a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test ≥12 weeks before the survey (cases) were matched (1:10) to seronegative controls on age, sex, and body mass index. Propensity score–weighted odds ratios (ORs) and ORs for risk factors were estimated for each health outcome.

In total, 742 cases and 7420 controls were included. The attributable risk of at least 1 long-COVID symptom was 25.0 per 100 cases (95% confidence interval [CI], 22.2–27.4). Compared to controls, cases reported worse general health (OR, 5.9 [95% CI, 5.0–7.0]) and had higher odds for a broad range of symptoms, particularly loss of taste (OR, 11.8 [95% CI, 9.5–14.6]) and smell (OR, 11.2 [95% CI, 9.1–13.9]). Physical and Mental Component Summary scores were also significantly reduced with differences of −2.5 (95% CI, −3.1 to −1.8) and −2.0 (95% CI, −2.7 to −1.2), respectively. Female sex and severity of initial infection were major risk factors for long COVID.

Nonhospitalized SARS-CoV-2 PCR–positive individuals had significantly reduced physical and mental health, and 1 in 4 reported persistence of at least 1 long-COVID symptom
TidsskriftOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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