Incidence of Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Increased Significantly After COVID-19 Infection

COVID-19 is associated with a significantly increased risk for fatigue and chronic fatigue, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Quan M. Vu, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the incidence rates of post-COVID-19 fatigue and chronic fatigue by analyzing electronic health record data for 4,589 patients with confirmed COVID-19 during February 2020 to February 2021 and 9,022 propensity score-matched non-COVID-19 controls. Patients were followed for a median of 11.4 months.

The researchers found that the incidence rate of fatigue and chronic fatigue was 10.2 and 1.8 per 100 person-years, respectively, among COVID-19 patients. The hazard ratios were 1.68 and 4.32 for fatigue and chronic fatigue, respectively, compared with non-COVID-19 controls.

“Our data indicate that COVID-19 is associated with a significant increase in new fatigue diagnoses, and physicians should be aware that fatigue might occur or be newly recognized more than one year after acute COVID-19,” the authors write. “The high incidence rates of fatigue reinforce the need for public health actions to prevent infections, to provide clinical care to those in need, and to find effective treatments for post-acute COVID-19 fatigue.”

There is little data that suggests chronic fatigue is more present in Black Americans than not, but Black Americans are among those most likely to get a COVID-19 infection.

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