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1.
Trop Med Int Health ; 2022 Apr 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784751

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To compare COVID-19 outcomes in the Omicron-driven fourth wave with prior waves in the Western Cape, the contribution of undiagnosed prior infection to differences in outcomes in a context of high seroprevalence due to prior infection, and whether protection against severe disease conferred by prior infection and/or vaccination was maintained. METHODS: In this cohort study, we included public sector patients aged ≥20 years with a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis between 14 November-11 December 2021 (wave four) and equivalent prior wave periods. We compared the risk between waves of the following outcomes using Cox regression: death, severe hospitalization or death and any hospitalization or death (all ≤14 days after diagnosis) adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, geography, vaccination and prior infection. RESULTS: We included 5,144 patients from wave four and 11,609 from prior waves. Risk of all outcomes was lower in wave four compared to the Delta-driven wave three (adjusted Hazard Ratio (aHR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] for death 0.27 [0.19; 0.38]. Risk reduction was lower when adjusting for vaccination and prior diagnosed infection (aHR:0.41, 95% CI: 0.29; 0.59) and reduced further when accounting for unascertained prior infections (aHR: 0.72). Vaccine protection was maintained in wave four (aHR for outcome of death: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.10; 0.58). CONCLUSIONS: In the Omicron-driven wave, severe COVID-19 outcomes were reduced mostly due to protection conferred by prior infection and/or vaccination, but intrinsically reduced virulence may account for a modest reduction in risk of severe hospitalization or death compared to the Delta-driven wave.

2.
Foods ; 11(7):967, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1762556

ABSTRACT

Olfactory dysfunction is amongst the many symptoms of Long COVID. Whilst most people that experience smell loss post COVID-19 recover their sense of smell and taste within a few weeks, about 10% of cases experience long-term problems, and their smell recovery journey often begins a few months later when everyday items start to smell distorted. This is known as parosmia. The aim of this study was to identify the key food triggers of parosmic distortions and investigate the relationship between distortion and disgust in order to establish the impact of parosmia on diet and quality of life. In this cross-sectional study (n = 727), respondents experiencing smell distortions completed a questionnaire covering aspects of smell loss, parosmia and the associated change in valence of everyday items. There was a significant correlation between strength and disgust (p < 0.0001), and when the selected items were reported as distorted, they were described as either unpleasant or gag-inducing 84% of the time. This change in valence associated with loss of expected pleasure and the presence of strange tastes and burning sensations must certainly lead to changes in eating behaviours and serious longer-term consequences for mental health and quality of life.

3.
JMIR Form Res ; 5(12): e29086, 2021 Dec 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572235

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of qualitative olfactory disorders is underestimated. Parosmia, the distorted perception of familiar odors, and phantosmia, the experience of odors in the absence of a stimulus, can arise following postinfectious anosmia, and the incidences of both have increased substantially since the outbreak of COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study are to explore the symptoms and sequalae of postinfectious olfactory dysfunction syndrome using unstructured and unsolicited threads from social media, and to articulate the perspectives and concerns of patients affected by these debilitating olfactory disorders. METHODS: A thematic analysis and content analysis of posts in the AbScent Parosmia and Phantosmia Support group on Facebook was conducted between June and December 2020. RESULTS: In this paper, we identify a novel symptom, olfactory perseveration, which is a triggered, identifiable, and usually unpleasant olfactory percept that persists in the absence of an ongoing stimulus. We also observe fluctuations in the intensity and duration of symptoms of parosmia, phantosmia, and olfactory perseveration. In addition, we identify a group of the most common items (coffee, meat, onion, and toothpaste) that trigger distortions; however, people have difficulty describing these distortions, using words associated with disgust and revulsion. The emotional aspect of living with qualitative olfactory dysfunction was evident and highlighted the detrimental impact on mental health. CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative and unsolicited data acquired from social media has provided useful insights into the patient experience of parosmia and phantosmia, which can inform rehabilitation strategies and ongoing research into understanding the molecular triggers associated with parosmic distortions and research into patient benefit.

4.
Front Sociol ; 6: 722380, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485131

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the nature of family life in countries across the world. School, and workplace closures meant that families spent more time at home and had to confront new economic, social, and psychological challenges as a result of lockdowns and the greater proximity of family members. Policy, research and media coverage of the pandemic's impact on family life has focused primarily on the economic costs borne by households. This article draws on the findings from an empirical research project funded by the UK Nuffield Foundation on "Politics, Participation and Pandemics: Growing up under COVID-19", which worked with young people as co-researchers, to present an innovative perspective on the impact of lockdown on family relationships. The research team adopted a longitudinal ethnographic action research approach to document and make sense of the experiences of young people (aged 14-18) in four countries: Italy, Lebanon Singapore and the United Kingdom. The project used digital ethnography and participatory methods to track the responses of 70 young people to the challenges created by the pandemic. The study used the family as a prism for understanding how the lives of children and young people in different family circumstances and relationships were affected by the crisis. This article analyses, firstly, the complex shifting dynamics within households to identify the transformative effects of the pandemic on family life in various socio-cultural contexts. Secondly, it examines how young people's agency shaped family dynamics. In conclusion, the authors recommend how the findings from the study can be used to inform government interventions designed to minimise the impacts of the pandemic on the social well-being and rights of children and young people, and to recognise them as active participants in family and civic life both during and after the pandemic.

5.
J Biomed Semantics ; 12(1): 13, 2021 07 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484319

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Effective response to public health emergencies, such as we are now experiencing with COVID-19, requires data sharing across multiple disciplines and data systems. Ontologies offer a powerful data sharing tool, and this holds especially for those ontologies built on the design principles of the Open Biomedical Ontologies Foundry. These principles are exemplified by the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO), a suite of interoperable ontology modules aiming to provide coverage of all aspects of the infectious disease domain. At its center is IDO Core, a disease- and pathogen-neutral ontology covering just those types of entities and relations that are relevant to infectious diseases generally. IDO Core is extended by disease and pathogen-specific ontology modules. RESULTS: To assist the integration and analysis of COVID-19 data, and viral infectious disease data more generally, we have recently developed three new IDO extensions: IDO Virus (VIDO); the Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology (CIDO); and an extension of CIDO focusing on COVID-19 (IDO-COVID-19). Reflecting the fact that viruses lack cellular parts, we have introduced into IDO Core the term acellular structure to cover viruses and other acellular entities studied by virologists. We now distinguish between infectious agents - organisms with an infectious disposition - and infectious structures - acellular structures with an infectious disposition. This in turn has led to various updates and refinements of IDO Core's content. We believe that our work on VIDO, CIDO, and IDO-COVID-19 can serve as a model for yielding greater conformance with ontology building best practices. CONCLUSIONS: IDO provides a simple recipe for building new pathogen-specific ontologies in a way that allows data about novel diseases to be easily compared, along multiple dimensions, with data represented by existing disease ontologies. The IDO strategy, moreover, supports ontology coordination, providing a powerful method of data integration and sharing that allows physicians, researchers, and public health organizations to respond rapidly and efficiently to current and future public health crises.


Subject(s)
Biological Ontologies/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Communicable Diseases/therapy , Computational Biology/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/transmission , Computational Biology/methods , Data Mining/methods , Data Mining/statistics & numerical data , Epidemics , Humans , Information Dissemination/methods , Public Health/methods , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Semantics
6.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0256998, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438345

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Qualitative olfactory (smell) dysfunctions are a common side effect of post-viral illness and known to impact quality of life and health status. Evidence is emerging that taste and smell loss are common symptoms of Covid-19 that may emerge and persist long after initial infection. The aim of the present study was to document the impact of post Covid-19 alterations to taste and smell. METHODS: We conducted exploratory thematic analysis of user-generated text from 9000 users of the AbScent Covid-19 Smell and Taste Loss moderated Facebook support group from March 24 to 30th September 2020. RESULTS: Participants reported difficulty explaining and managing an altered sense of taste and smell; a lack of interpersonal and professional explanation or support; altered eating; appetite loss, weight change; loss of pleasure in food, eating and social engagement; altered intimacy and an altered relationship to self and others. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest altered taste and smell with Covid-19 may lead to severe disruption to daily living that impacts on psychological well-being, physical health, relationships and sense of self. More specifically, participants reported impacts that related to reduced desire and ability to eat and prepare food; weight gain, weight loss and nutritional insufficiency; emotional wellbeing; professional practice; intimacy and social bonding; and the disruption of people's sense of reality and themselves. Our findings should inform further research and suggest areas for the training, assessment and treatment practices of health care professionals working with long Covid.


Subject(s)
Anosmia , COVID-19 , Olfactory Perception , SARS-CoV-2 , Taste Disorders , Taste Perception , Adult , Anosmia/etiology , Anosmia/physiopathology , Anosmia/psychology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Taste Disorders/etiology , Taste Disorders/physiopathology , Taste Disorders/psychology , Time Factors
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