Slide From June 17th, 2021 CDC COCA Call on `Post-COVID' Syndrome
The rub in all of this is there is considerable evidence that - unlike seasonal flu - COVID often produces long-lasting, sometimes chronic, sequelae in a significant (10%-30%) of people infected. Even those who only experienced `mild' COVID illness.
What is now referred to as Post-COVID Syndrome, or `Long COVID'.
For many, these Post-COVID symptoms ease over a period of months or years, but for others, they can represent a permanent disability or chronic illness (see JAMA: Additional Evidence Of A Post-COVID/Diabetes Link).
That impact on society, on healthcare delivery services, and on the workforce is something we will be forced to deal with for years to come.
Last April, in SSI Preprint: Extended Sick Leave Following COVID Infection (Long COVID), we looked at a preprint which found a steep (3-fold) increase in taking extended sick leave (> 30 days) among those who had `recovered' from COVID , compared to those who have not been infected.
In the past - particularly with ME/CFS and Chronic Lyme Disease - society's response has too often been to ignore the problem, and even ridicule and marginalize the patient. But that will become much harder to do as the number of Post-COVID Syndrome cases increases.
The CDC has produced a number of COCA Calls on diagnosis and management of `Long COVID' over the past couple of years, including:
As always, If you are unable to attend the live presentation, these (and past) webinars are archived and available for later viewing at this LINK.
= Free Continuing Education
Long COVID can affect multiple organ systems creating a myriad of different symptoms that may require treatment and affect returning to work. Clinicians play a critical role in evaluating and supporting patients in their return to work. Tailored support and workplace accommodations are an important part of caring for patients with Long COVID. During this COCA Call, presenters will review some of the complex symptoms specific to Long COVID, discuss medical considerations for recommending return to work, and review accommodations to support patients returning to the workplace.
John Howard, MD, MPH, JD, LLM, MBA
Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH, FACOEM, FACP
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Greg Vanichkachorn, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Occupational and Aerospace Medicine Physician
Medical Director, Mayo Clinic COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program
To be posted. Please check back.
Thursday, June 15, 2023,
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET
Webinar ID: 161 226 7823
+1 646 828 7666
+1 551 285 1373
+1 669 254 5252
+16469641167,,1612267823#,,,,*383130# US (US Spanish Line)
Last week, in Study: SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Viral Fusogens Cause Neuronal and Glial Fusion that Compromises Neuronal Activity, the Queensland University's Brain Institute reported `. . . SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain cells to fuse, initiating malfunctions that lead to chronic neurological symptoms.'
While the long-term impact of this effect remains unknown, it may help explain the large number of COVID survivors who report `brain fog' for months (or longer) after recovery.
But it could also be a harbinger of something worse A few (of many) studies suggesting a COVID link to neurological diseases include:
Neurology: Incidence of Epilepsy and Seizures Over the First 6 Months After a COVID-19 Diagnosis: A Retrospective Cohort Study
Among those who survived, Parkinsonism and other neurological sequelae were common.
While past performance is no guarantee of future results, until we better understand the long-term effects of repeated COVID infections, it is too soon to trivialize the virus as `just another flu'. Which is why I've stayed current with the boosters, and why I still wear a face mask in crowds.
In the years ahead, I may find that my concerns were overblown.
But given the stakes, I consider these to be relatively minor precautions, that I really don't mind taking.