“The health system does not diagnose persistent covid”


On December 1, 2019, we learned the first known case of covid-19 in China, the epicenter of the pandemic which, for two and a half years, has kept the entire planet under control. Later it was learned that the virus carried weeks outstanding and that the first infections had taken place in November in a live animal market in the town of Wuhan. Three years later, covid-19 (which in Spain caused more than 13 million infections with a diagnostic test confirmed by the health system and certain 116,000 deaths) It no longer conditions the life of the population as it did then, but the hangover it has left is irrevocable. And part of it are the patients of persistent lust (or ‘long covid’, in English literature), developing disease between 10% and 15% of those infected. in the absence of a official register, in Catalonia they suffer it, calculate doctors and entities, about 300,000 people.

“There are still many primary care doctors and hospitals not diagnosing us As such. There’s a lot Holocaust denial around persistent covid,” says Silvia Soler, spokesperson for Col.lectiu d’Afectades Persistentes Covid-19, some of which are part 1,400 Catalans, many of whom carry the disease from the first wave. This entity will present itself this Thursday at the Parliamentary Health Committee to denounce “the abandonment of care” and the “lack of interest” of the government.

“There are children and adolescents who study with a lot of attention deficits and fatigue”

“The pandemic is over, but this sub-pandemic stay here. No one wants to face a serious problem It affects people of all ages. There are children and adolescents who study with many attention deficits and fatigue,” assures Soler. The group asks, mainly, that a official count of the sick of persistent covid because, so far, the number of people affected is unknown. “It’s not done because there is no political will”, Add.

Most patients with a mild covid-19 They recover after two weeks. However, between 10% and 15% continue to have symptoms at least, three months later. From there, doctors consider them to be patients with persistent covid: people who, despite the fact that the coronavirus tests are already negative and there is no trace of the virus, continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue, dyspnoea (or shortness of breath), chest pain and headache or brain fog.

Soler herself is a sick persistent covid-19. He was infected during the first wave and, although he was better in the summer, in October relapsed again. “I still mild fever, temperature dysregulation and hoarseness. I’m very tired again,” says the 54-year-old.

“without knowing”

“In the primary and hospital care there is still some truth ignoring on the disease”, recognizes Gemma Torrell, primary care center doctor (CAP) The Indians, of Montcada i Reixac (Barcelona). Persistent covid causes symptoms sometimes “difficult” to associate with a “past infection”. “Now, in addition, We only test vulnerable people, so many people can have covid and develop fatigue later on. In a post-covid situation, it may be difficult to objectify, said Torrell.

This family doctor does the follow-up many patients diagnosed with persistent covid. But, besides, they keep on coming the news. “There are many people who come to the consultation for another reason, but then he explains that he is not as well as before covid. And you see that he has persistent symptoms and that in addition adapted his life to these symptoms,” Torrell account.

These patients primarily accuse a great lack of energy. They are not always on leave, but many of those who continue to work find it impossible to maintain, for example, their social life. “Or they keep it but with very tired”, says this doctor. “These are people who seem to be fine but the symptoms -fatigue, mental fog, tachycardia- They burst into his life.”

health impact

Torrell sees an urgent need to start save to these patients. According to her, it is a “problem” ignore “volume” the same. This could be done in primary care, but “many people with symptoms do not consult”. You could also do a demographic survey. But, for that, Torrell specifies, the first aid must be “strong” to serve well people and refer them if necessary. A primary, precise, with 25% of the total budget of Salut.

“The state of the system has an impact on this disease and in others. There is a long waiting list to access rehabilitation, for additional tests and sometimes also to access primary care,” explains Torrell. He believes there is a “need” to “close” the pandemic, but the persistent covid “does not allow it” because it is a situation that “is always there”.

Survey and waiting list

The head of the persistent covid unit of the German Hospital Trias i Pujol (Can Ruti) from Badalona, Lourdes Mateu, insist on need to investigate this unknown disease. Currently, several studies are in progress In the whole world. Can Ruti recently launched one with plasmapheresis, a technique to clean the blood of inflammatory substances, but until April or May there will be no results.

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Mateu warns that, despite the fact that the the omicron variant causes fewer cases persistent covid than the original in Wuhan, Can Ruti unit Patients are still arriving. There is currently a six month waiting list to get there. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has taken care of approximately thousand patients. “What should be invested in the persistent covid is not, nor in presence neither in to research”, denounces Matthew.

“There is still a ignoring of the medical community and are not well identified the patients. Studies are lacking. Primary care is very important because it is the one who sees the patient, but who has a problem overload”, adds this internist. She and Dr. Torrell consider it important that the Company know what persistent covid is and adapt your work To those concerned.

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