The World Health Organization (WHO) released the first official clinical definition of the disease called “post-COVID-19”.
This condition, which is also known as “long-term COVID-19”, is suffered by people who have had confirmed or probable coronavirus infections, WHO refers on its official website.
According to the United Nations body, it usually appears about three months after the start of COVID-19 and its symptoms last at least two months, in addition to that they still cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
The lack of clarity even among health professionals about this disease has complicated efforts to advance its research and treatment, says the WHO.
For this reason, the health agency decided to seek a standardized clinical case definition worldwide.
According to Dr. Janet Díaz, head of clinical management at WHO, its symptoms include “fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, as well as others that generally affect daily functioning.”
“Symptoms can be new, after the initial recovery from an acute episode; Or, they may persist from the onset of the disease. In addition, the symptoms can also fluctuate or there may be relapses over time, “says the expert.
However, the WHO also warns that the majority of patients suffering from COVID-19 make a full recovery, although some suffer “long-term effects on their body, the pulmonary, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as psychological effects.”
It also clarifies that these effects can occur regardless of the initial severity of the infection, in addition to that they occur more frequently in women, middle-aged people and in those who showed more symptoms at the beginning of their condition.
Likewise, the head of clinical management of the WHO considers that it is “an important step forward” to standardize the recognition of patients with this condition, in addition to helping medical and health personnel to recognize patients and begin with the appropriate treatments and interventions. be clear about the paths to take.
Another aspect of this disease is that, although there are several tests to detect the initial infection by COVID-19, there are still no tests to detect this subsequent condition, nor what triggers it in patients.
So far the only thing the WHO has consensus on is having achieved a clinical definition. Its investigation, treatment and causes are still in unknown territory.
For the WHO this is the complete definition of the Post-COVID-19 condition:
“Post-COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually three months after onset of COVID-19 with symptoms lasting at least two months and unable to be explained by an alternative diagnosis. The most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction, but other symptoms can also occur that usually affect the daily functioning of the patient. Symptoms can be new, after the initial recovery from an acute episode of COVID-19, or they may persist from the onset of the illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or there may be relapses over time. For children, another definition may apply. “