COVID-19 may trigger post-viral syndromes

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SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can sometimes trigger several post-viral syndromes, or diseases occurring after infection, NPR reported Nov. 18.

One study published by Brain Sciences found 13 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, also called ME/CFS, six months after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis. The study included 130 patients. 

Peter Rowe, MD, professor of pediatrics at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has separate evidence that mild illness can also trigger this disease.

"We have a small sample size, but in those [patients] in whom function remains impaired [six months] after COVID-19 infection ... all have met criteria for ME/CFS," Dr. Rowe wrote in an email to NPR. "I am referring here to the patients who have prolonged symptoms after mild COVID infections, not the hospitalized group, or those with organ damage after more severe acute COVID-19."

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a blood circulation disorder, is another post-viral syndrome triggered by COVID-19. 

"There's this belief that you have an infectious disease, you get your treatment for it and you're finished with it. You go back to work and you're fine," Zackary Berger, MD, PhD, primary care physician and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University, told NPR. "But for a lot of people, being sick isn't like that."

 

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