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17m people have long COVID symptoms in Europe – WHO

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An estimated 17 million people in Europe suffered symptoms of long COVID during the first two years of the pandemic, according to an analysis conducted for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO’s European office, on Tuesday, announced the research findings on the lasting effects of a COVID-19 infection, known as long COVID.

The figure is based on a model created by the University of Washington, which evaluated cases in the WHO’s 53 European member states.

The criterion was symptom duration of at least three months in 2020 and or 2021.

The study indicates that the probability of contracting long COVID is twice as high in women as in men, the WHO said.

In addition, the risk of long COVID increases dramatically for those with a severe Coronavirus infection requiring hospitalisation for treatment.

One in three affected women and one in five affected men can experience symptoms of long COVID after such a severe course of COVID-19, the modelling showed.

“While we still have a lot to learn about long COVID, this data highlights the urgent need for more analysis, more investment, more support and more solidarity with those who experience this condition,’’ said Hans Kluge, Director of the WHO Europe Region, during a WHO meeting in Tel Aviv.

Millions of people suffered debilitating symptoms in the months following a COVID-19 infection, he said.

“They cannot continue to suffer in silence.

“Governments and health partners must collaborate to find solutions based on research and evidence,’’ Kluge said.

Globally, it is estimated that around 145 million people were affected by long COVID symptoms in the first two years of the pandemic. (NAN)

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