THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with multiple symptoms after 12 weeks, including anosmia, hair loss, ejaculation difficulty, and reduced libido, according to a study published online July 25 in Nature Medicine.

Anuradhaa Subramanian, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a retrospective matched cohort study using a U.K.-based primary care database to examine symptoms associated with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond 12 weeks in nonhospitalized adults. A total of 486,149 adults with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1,944,580 propensity score-matched adults without confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were selected. The outcomes included 115 individual symptoms and long COVID, defined as a composite of 33 symptoms.

The researchers observed significant associations for 62 symptoms with SARS-CoV-2 infection after 12 weeks. Anosmia, hair loss, sneezing, ejaculation difficulty, and reduced libido had the largest adjusted hazard ratios (6.49, 3.99, 2.77, 2.63, and 2.36, respectively). Risk factors for long COVID in this cohort included female sex, belonging to an ethnic minority, socioeconomic deprivation, smoking, obesity, and a wide range of comorbidities. Along a gradient of decreasing age, the risk for developing long COVID increased.

“This study is instrumental in creating and adding further value to understanding the complexity and pathology of long COVID. It highlights the degree and diversity of expression of symptoms between different clusters,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Patients with preexisting health conditions will also welcome the additional analysis on risk factors.”

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