In Practice

Long-COVID: An evolving problem with an extensive impact

M Mendelson, J Nel, L Blumberg, S A Madhi, M Dryden, W Stevens, F W D Venter

Abstract


Persistence of symptoms or development of new symptoms relating to SARS-CoV-2 infection late in the course of COVID-19 is an increasingly recognised problem facing the globally infected population and its health systems. ‘Long-COVID’ or ‘COVID long-haulers’ generally describes those persons with COVID-19 who experience symptoms for >28 days after diagnosis, whether laboratory confirmed or clinical. Symptoms are as markedly heterogeneous as seen in acute COVID-19 and may be constant, fluctuate, or appear and be replaced by symptoms relating to other systems with varying frequency. Such multisystem involvement requires a holistic approach to management of long-COVID, and descriptions of cohorts from low- and middle-income countries are eagerly awaited. Although many persons with long-COVID will be managed in primary care, others will require greater input from rehabilitation medicine experts. For both eventualities, planning is urgently required to ensure that the South African public health service is ready and able to respond.


Authors' affiliations

M Mendelson, Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

J Nel, Division of Infectious Diseases, Helen Joseph Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

L Blumberg, Division of Public Health Preparedness and Response, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, South Africa

S A Madhi, South African Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytical Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

M Dryden, Division of Public Health Preparedness and Response, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, South Africa

W Stevens, National Priority Programmes, National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa

F W D Venter, Ezintsha, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johnnesburg, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Fatigue

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(1):10-12. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v111i11.15433

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-11-23
Date published: 2020-11-23

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