COVID-19 Not Only Illness That Leads to Persistent Symptoms

Evidence continues to mount that Covid isn’t the only viral illness that can lead to persistent and sometimes debilitating symptoms.

Research published Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases finds that the flu virus may also have long-lasting effects on health.

With the arrival of the pandemic and the resulting rash of long Covid cases, doctors had to rethink their ideas about viral infections, said senior study author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System and a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Our conception of these illnesses as acute events that you deal with and then put behind you has changed,” he said. “The acute phase is like the tip of an iceberg. People who get these infections may need attention beyond the acute phase. We need to ask if they have fully recovered, if they are able to go to the gym like before, if they have the same mental acuity.”

This view of viral illnesses and their potential long-term impacts may lead to research that will also help people with other little understood conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which experts believe might be triggered by viral infections, Al-Aly said.

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