Study of hundreds of coronavirus suffers has revealed main side effects still experienced long after first positive test
Covid sufferers are still reporting common symptoms an average of four months after having caught the virus, a new study has found.
Two hundred patients enrolled in the Covid-19 Neurological and Molecular Prospective Cohort Study in Georgia, or CONGA, to investigate the longer term impacts of the illness.
Fatigue and headache were the two symptoms most participants reported having some four months after first testing positive.
Muscle aches, cough, changes in smell and taste, fever, chills and nasal congestion were the next most frequently cited symptoms.
“Our results support the growing evidence that there are chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms following Covid-19 infections,” Medical College of Georgia investigators researchers wrote in the journal ScienceDirect.
“There are a lot of symptoms that we did not know early on in the pandemic what to make of them, but now it’s clear there is a long COVID syndrome and that a lot of people are affected,” Dr Elizabeth Rutkowski, MCG neurologist and the study’s corresponding author, said.
Participants were recruited, on average, about 125 days after testing positive for the illness.
CONGA was established at MCG early in the pandemic in 2020 to examine the severity and longevity of neurological problems and began enrolling participants in March 2020 with the ultimate goal of recruiting 500 over five years.
Some 80 per cent of the first 200 participants reported neurological symptoms with fatigue, the most common symptom, reported by 68.5 per cent, and headache close behind at 66.5 per cent.
Just over half reported changes in smell (54.5 per cent) and taste (54 per cent) and nearly half the participants (47 per cent) met the criteria for mild cognitive impairment, with 30 per cent demonstrating impaired vocabulary and 32 per cent having impaired working memory.
Twenty-one per cent reported confusion, and hypertension was the most common medical condition reported by participants in addition to their bout with COVID-19.
No participants reported having a stroke, weakness or inability to control muscles involved with speaking, and coordination problems were some of the less frequently reported symptoms.