Long-COVID symptoms can last longer than a year

Health ministry still monitoring, and treating patients

COVID-19 continues to affect many persons not just in its acute phase or period of infection, but also after infection, a condition termed long-COVID.

Studies have shown that about one-fifth of persons infected or re-infected with COVID-19 can develop prolonged symptoms that last for more than a year in some patients.

Symptoms of long-COVID

This was disclosed by Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony during Friday’s COVID-19 update.

“After someone would’ve had the acute phase of the infection, let’s say they were hospitalised and discharged, some persons would continue to experience symptoms for long periods of time, in some cases as much as a year and in other cases probably longer,” he informed.

Minister Anthony explained that having prolonged symptoms does not mean a person is infectious but is experiencing lingering health problems caused by the infection.

He noted that according to the British Medical Journal, about five per cent of persons who were infected or re-infected continues to have problems with their smell and taste.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

The latest symptoms of long-COVID include problems with sex drive and hair loss. Dr. Anthony noted that studies are ongoing to determine all the symptoms of long-COVID.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has established a multidisciplinary team to monitor and provide care for long-COVID patients.

“In Guyana, we have set up teams of people who would normally see these patients depending on what symptoms we’re seeing or what symptoms they’re presenting with and we continue to treat them symptomatically,” the minister said.

In addition, 400 local physicians have been trained by top experts from the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to help them better detect and treat patients affected by these prolonged symptoms. The health minister added that the medical team at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) will work with patients to ensure they receive treatment.