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Expert warns long, post COVID-19 may affect millions in Turkey



The COVID-19 pandemic is not the most pressing issue Turkey faces nowadays as the number of daily cases has drastically decreased. Yet, even if it completely disappears, it can still haunt the population with what is referred as “long and post COVID-19,” one expert warns.

Professor Alper Şener, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, told a symposium in the western province of Izmir on Monday that some 5 million people could have post or long COVID-19 symptoms and Turkey needs to define a treatment pattern to address their problems as soon as possible.

Turkey grappled with a high number of cases in the last months of 2021 due to the fast-spreading omicron variant but since then, especially in the past two months, cases have dropped to all-time lows. The number of daily cases was 1,154 on Sunday.

Though patients in most cases of omicron easily recover and do not need hospitalization, experts warn that some patients with a history of coronavirus infection, regardless of the strain, run the risk of long and post COVID-19. Long and post COVID-19 covers everything from minor symptoms to more serious cases such as lung diseases.

The country has been monitoring former COVID-19 patients since the first year of pandemic in the country. Şener says the infection leaves behind “damage” in the body and if it lasts for more than three months, it is “post COVID-19” and if it is confined to four to 12 weeks after recovery, it was long COVID-19. “These two will be significant illness categories in the near future in Turkey. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that one out of every 10 people who recovered from COVID-19 suffer from post or long COVID,” he warned.

Şener said among the symptoms were memory deficit, speaking impairment and impairment in perception, along with respiratory problems, fatigue and skin rashes, coughing fits, damage to the lungs and muscle aches. “We definitely recommend that former coronavirus patients undergo a medical checkup,” he said. He noted that people with those symptoms often seek out separate treatments for each symptom but an integrated treatment pattern is needed to respond to their problems in a more concrete way.


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Source: Daily Sabah


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