More than 336,000 people in Ireland could be affected by Long-Covid, new research finds.
There are no official figures in Ireland on how many people have suffered the after-effects of Covid-19, but independent TD Denis Naughten says if this comes from a recent study study in The lancet and data from blood donors was used here, it could mean up to 336,451 people were left with a legacy of symptoms – including fatigue and brain fog.
Based on Mr Naughten’s analysis, 100,650 people in Dublin have suffered from long-term Covid; 34,251 at Cork, 18,245 at Galway; 16,791 at Kildare, 14,317 at Limerick; 14,071 at Meath; 12,093 in Donegal; 10,734 at Louth; and 10,511 at Tipperary.
He said it was time to treat the long Covid with the same urgency as the original virus.
“We cannot just sleepwalk into a chronic disease crisis that will push people who have been waiting for treatments since before the pandemic even further down already dire waiting lists,” he said.
“The numbers are simply overwhelming. By population, Co Carlow has the most patients with Long-Covid at 4,750, while its neighbors in Co Wicklow have the lowest incidence by population at 8,636, followed by Co Wexford at 9,023.”
Last week, The lancet reported a Dutch study, which indicated that up to one in eight people who contract the virus can develop long-term Covid symptoms.
It found that common long-term Covid symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, loss of taste and smell and general fatigue.
Mr Naughten said the research is describing Long-Covid as the next imminent public health disaster, which “clearly indicates that the Government must now treat this disease and the patients with it as a top priority”.
The HSE has said it recognizes the need to follow up and care for patients showing symptoms of Covid-19.
It has developed an interim model of care for long Covid, with the aim of providing a national approach to the delivery of services and support to patients.
It recommended the development of eight post-acute clinics and six long-term Covid clinics.
“The aim of the Post-Acute Covid Clinics is to ensure that patients who have recovered from the acute phase of Covid-19 receive timely and appropriate follow-up, taking into account factors such as severity of illness, likelihood of long-term course respiratory symptoms and functional disability,” it said.
Post-acute clinics are managed by respiratory consultants and provide patient assessment and ongoing care within “12 weeks of infection”.
Long Covid Outpatient Clinics are a specialized service for patients with symptoms that develop during or after a Covid-19 infection, last longer than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
These are led by consultants specializing in infectious diseases.
However, sufficient staff still have to be recruited.
The HSE said “in many cases the designated hospital sites are providing temporary clinics for long Covid and post-acute illnesses while awaiting recruitment of all staff”.
People should contact their GP first, the HSE recommended.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/over-336000-people-in-ireland-could-have-long-covid-says-new-analysis-41914040.html Over 336,000 people in Ireland could have long been ill with Covid, says new analysis