Prevalence and predictors of post-acute COVID syndrome among infected healthcare workers at University Malaya Medical Centre

Say Hiang Lim, Yin Cheng Lim, Rafdzah Ahmad Zaki, Bushra Megat Johari, Chung Yuan Chang, Sharifah Faridah Syed Omar, Amirah Azzeri, Maznah Dahlui, Adeeba Kamarulzaman

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Background Post Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS), a complex and poorly understood condition characterised by persistent symptoms following the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, has emerged as a significant global health concern. Healthcare workers who had been at the forefront of the pandemic response are at heightened risk of contracting the virus and subsequently developing PACS. Therefore, we aim to determine the prevalence and risk factors for PACS among healthcare workers infected with COVID-19. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted between October 2022 and August 2023 using an online REDCap electronic data capture tool questionnaire. PACS was defined as new or persistent symptoms lasting more than 28 days after a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction or rapid test kit antigen test. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine predictors associated with PACS. Results Among 609 infected healthcare workers, they were predominantly female (71.8%), Malays (84.6%), and aged 18–39 years (70.1%). 50.7% of infected healthcare workers experienced PACS. The most common PACS symptoms experienced were fatigue (27.9%), cough (25.1%), decreased physical strength (20.5%), and musculoskeletal pain (19.2%). Those who are more likely to develop PACS were females, underlying asthma, and COVID-19 severity category 3. On the other hand, those who received booster vaccinations were less likely to develop PACS. Conclusion PACS is prevalent among healthcare workers with COVID-19 at the University Malaya Medical Centre. These findings emphasise the critical need for those with higher risk to receive regular health monitoring and checkups to detect any early signs of PACS. It underscores the need for continuous support and healthcare interventions to mitigate the impacts of PACS and ensure the physical and mental well-being of healthcare workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0298376
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2024

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