Norwegian study: Long Covid is more common among those who have tested positive for Covid-19
“Our study shows that a significant number will still have symptoms or complaints six months after being infected,” senior researcher Karin Magnusson at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health says.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has investigated whether symptoms of long Covid are more common among those who have had Covid-19 than among those who have not tested positive for the disease.
Several studies have shown that symptoms of long Covid can also occur in people who have not tested positive for Covid-19.
These are the symptoms
In a study last year, Danish researchers found that 30 per cent of a group of people who believed they had long Covid had never had the disease.
Earlier this year, the national newspaper Aftenposten reported on a Norwegian study among young people which revealed that both those infected with Covid-19 and non-infected individuals could experience long Covid.
“Our study actually shows that with the current definition of long Covid, you can have symptoms without having been infected with the coronavirus,” Professor Vegard Bruun Bratholm Wyller told the newspaper then.
The NIPH's new study shows that more Norwegians who have had Covid-19 have symptoms of long Covid than those who have not tested positive.
“Our study shows that a significant number will still have symptoms or complaints six months after being infected,” senior researcher Karin Magnusson at the NIPH says.
In the study, researchers compared infected and non-infected individuals. The findings apply to people with a mild course of the disease. Typical symptoms of long Covid are shortness of breath, cough, and fatigue.
“We found that the prevalence was slightly higher among those who tested positive than among those who tested negative or did not test themselves,” Magnusson says.
More people visited their GP
Among those infected, 50 to 250 more per 10,000 people visited their GP with general or respiratory complaints after six months than among those who were not infected.
Only 5 to 10 more per 10,000 people visited their GP with neurological complaints after six months among those infected than among those who were not infected.
“The numbers may seem small, but we must remember that to date, several hundred thousand to millions of us have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. the NIPH estimates that approximately 90 per cent of the population has been infected,” Magnusson says.
Unclear how long-term effects can be treated
According to Magnusson, the study’s findings are an important contribution to our understanding of Covid-19 and will pave the way for further research.
“For example, people who still have complaints after six months will need healthcare. It is currently unclear how long-term effects of Covid-19 can be prevented and treated,” Magnusson says.
2.3 million Norwegians were included in the study. 75,979 of these had tested positive.
Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.
Read the Norwegian version of this article on forskning.no