The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it was deeply concerned about long Covid and urged people struggling with the after-effects of the coronavirus disease to seek medical help, AFP reported.

Post-coronavirus health problems that continue for four or more weeks after infection are termed as long Covid, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This post-Covid syndrome, or long Covid, is something that the WHO is deeply concerned about,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, told reporters. The WHO was “making sure that we have recognition of this, because this is real”, she said.

“We don’t know for how long these effects last and we’re even working on a case definition to better understand and describe what this post-Covid syndrome is,” Van Kerkhove added.

Studies on long Covid

A vast majority of patients of long Covid-19 took more than 35 weeks to recover, according to a study published in the Lancet’s journal EClinicalMedicine on July 15. The most common symptoms that respondents listed were fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) and post-exertional malaise, or worsening of symptoms after exercise. Other symptoms included changes in menstrual cycle, sexual dysfunction, increase in heart rate, memory loss and blurred vision.

Janet Diaz, Team Lead, Health Care Readiness at the WHO, had said in February that symptoms of long Covid can occur a month, three months, or even six months after the initial infection.

Meanwhile, a study published earlier this week in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal said that the number of children who experience symptoms of Covid-19 after four weeks is low. Most children who develop a symptomatic Covid-19 infection recover in six days, the study, conducted in the United Kingdom, showed.