New study shows the symptoms of long-COVID mirror those for influenza

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The Queensland government has released the results of a new study that indicates that for those up to date on their vaccinations, the symptoms of long-COVID may be no more severe than those experienced with influenza.

The study ran between June and September last year and involved 3,100 Queensland participants. It was completed at a time when 90 per cent of the state’s population was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Participants were surveyed 12 weeks post-infection with COVID-19 (2,195) or influenza (951).

Of those diagnosed with COVID-19 (Omicron), 21 per cent (469) reported ongoing symptoms at 12 weeks and 4 per cent (90) reported having moderate to severe functional limitations in everyday life.

In comparison, 23 per cent (214) of adults diagnosed with influenza reported ongoing symptoms, and 4 per cent (42) reported moderate to severe functional limitations.

Long COVID symptoms persist for over three months, including breathlessness, cough, heart palpitations, headaches, and severe fatigue.

The results will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

“There were very high vaccination rates in Queensland before there was widespread circulation of COVID-19," said Queensland chief health officer, Dr John Gerrard.

“In that context, the study shows a longer-than-expected recovery after a viral illness is not unusual and occurs with other diseases like influenza.

“Simply put - long-term symptoms are not unique to COVID-19 when applied to Queensland’s highly-vaccinated population."