KOCHI: As the country is battling the second wave of the pandemic, many people recovered from COVID are reportedly developing a wide range of persistent severe symptoms, including neurological and cardiac issues, causing concern among health experts.
Doctors say more people are being diagnosed with post-acute COVID Syndrome (PACS), and these instances have been identified across the state. PACS can occur irrespective of age, even to those with mild or asymptomatic COVID symptoms, they say.
Despite recovering from the disease, there are chances for reservoirs of the virus to be present in an individual’s body for months.
"With the second wave, things don't seem to end with recovery from the infection. There seems to be significant immuno-deficiency, even in those who have had mild to moderate COVID, resulting in these patients arriving at hospitals again with unusual infections. Severe COVID patients in ICUs seem to be unable to survive secondary bacterial infections," said Dr Anup R Warrier, infectious disease expert.
A 26-year-old person, who recovered from COVID in May, got admitted to a private hospital in Kochi with a rare fungal infection spreading from his throat to the oesophagus. He suffered mild COVID symptoms and was undergoing treatment at his home. Also, a 37-year-old, who recovered from COVID in April, was admitted to a private hospital in Thrissur with meningitis last week.
"The changes that the infection leave behind can be fatal to some. It is very much possible that the traces of the virus can be present in the body for months after the infection has been cleared from the blood. Chronic symptoms can be developed if the virus stays long enough in the body, as the immunity is highly affected," said a pulmonologist in Kochi.
After COVID infection, a rise in tuberculosis, rare fungal infections, cardiac issues and brain issues, at least in some, are a concern. Therefore, experts have urged the state government to monitor and keep track of re-admission cases in hospitals after the infection.
According to global studies, COVID-recovered persons are at a risk for developing further health issues, for at least six months. Secondary infections developed in patients after Covid are becoming hard to diagnose and treat.
"Rather than merely treating the patients under the category of post-Covid ailments, in-depth studies must be conducted to know the underlying issues .With the second wave, even those who recovered are being admitted to ICU's with secondary infections - mainly hospital-acquired infections - and are not responding to antibiotic treatment. Normally, 80 per cent of patients get cured of these infections, but now, it is becoming fatal in some cases," said Dr Monu Varghese, a pulmonologist.