Japan facing rise in ‘Long Covid’ cases

Japan is seeing a number of people report having so-called ‘Long Covid’ symptoms, including fatigue, coughing and memory memory loss. Tokyo’s metropolitan government found that of the 2,039 people reporting Long Covid symptoms, 97% only had mild symptoms when they were infected with the coronavirus between January and April. 74% had no underlying disease, and more than 70% were aged 20-59.

The patients particularly reported fatigue and prolonged coughing as their main symptoms and ongoing physical challenges. 10% of people hospitalised during and before the Delta outbreak of Covid-19 still had Long Covid symptoms a year after being infected. But medical sources say the after-effects may be more prolonged in cases involving the Omicron variant.

One high school student, an 18 year old, told The Japan Times that after his fever dropped and he returned to school, he had a hard time focusing in class, as well as with sitting and maintaining his posture. The student visited an outpatient clinic that deals with Long Covid. He began receiving treatment based on Chinese herbal medicines and other drugs but still finds it difficult to attend school as the symptoms persist.

But Japan’s healthcare systems may not be prepared to deal with Long Covid sufferers. According to a survey, 90% of 134 local governments that responded had no consultation services for Long Covid as a specific condition. Less than 10% had an outpatient clinic specialising in treatment for it. Research on prevention and treatment for Long Covid is continuing, however, effective treatments have yet to be established as scientists around the world continue on establishing more accurate data bases on the condition.

In April, Japan’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry published a handbook that classifies Covid aftereffects in different categories: coughing and breathlessness as “respiratory symptoms”, and memory impairment as a “neurological symptom”. The handbook explains methods for examination and medical treatments.

SOURCE: The Japan News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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