Saad NJ, Moek F, Steitz F, Murajda L, Bärnighausen T, Zoller T, Pörtner K, Muller N
Euro Surveill 26 (43) - [2021-10-00; online 2021-10-30]
BackgroundDetailed information on symptom duration and temporal course of patients with mild COVID-19 was scarce at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.AimWe aimed to determine the longitudinal course of clinical symptoms in non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients in Berlin, Germany.MethodsBetween March and May 2020, 102 confirmed COVID-19 cases in home isolation notified in Berlin, Germany, were sampled using total population sampling. Data on 25 symptoms were collected during telephone consultations (a maximum of four consultations) with each patient. We collected information on prevalence and duration of symptoms for each day of the first 2 weeks after symptom onset and for day 30 and 60 after symptom onset.ResultsMedian age was 35 years (range 18-74), 57% (58/102) were female, and 37% (38/102) reported having comorbidities. During the first 2 weeks, most common symptoms were malaise (94%, 92/98), headache (71%, 70/98), and rhinitis (69%, 68/98). Malaise was present for a median of 11 days (IQR 7-14 days) with 35% (34/98) of cases still reporting malaise on day 14. Headache and muscle pain mostly occurred during the first week, whereas dysosmia and dysgeusia mostly occurred during the second week. Symptoms persisted in 41% (39/95) and 20% (18/88) of patients on day 30 and 60, respectively.ConclusionOur study shows that a significant proportion of non-hospitalised COVID-19 cases endured symptoms for at least 2 months. Further research is needed to assess the frequency of long-term adverse health effects in non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients.