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Long COVID now has an official WHO clinical definition

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By Euronews
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Long COVID now has an official WHO clinical definition
Copyright  Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released an official clinical definition for long covid.

The United Nations body released its definition of what it calls "post COVID-19 condition" on Wednesday, flagging that it typically occurs three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least two months and "cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis."

"Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, but also others which generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new-onset, following the initial recovery from the acute episode, or persist from the initial illness. And then symptoms can also fluctuate or relapse over time," Dr Janet Diaz, Head of Clinical Management, World Health Organisation, explained.

She added that the clinical definition is "an important step forward to standardise the recognition of patients living with the post-COVID-19 condition."

"We hope it will help clinicians and health workers recognise patients and start them on appropriate treatments and interventions and care pathways. We hope that policymakers and health systems will set up and implement integrated care models to care for these patients."

The WHO stressed its release that the definition may change as new evidence emerges "and our understanding of the consequences of COVID-19 continues to evolve."

In September, there were more than one million people living in the UK who reported they were suffering from long COVID.

That's according to the Office for National Statistics which says this figure reflects the increase of COVID-19 infection rates in July.

Those people who work in health care, social care, and hospitality were affected the most last September in the UK.

A recent study has found that one in three people will suffer from post-covid symptoms for three to six months.