Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge for health systems, citizens and policymakers worldwide. It is not known how many people are affected with longer term sequelae after acute COVID-19 and a wide range of prevalence estimates have been reported with a high heterogeneity between studies.
Methods: We designed a cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of post COVID-19 conditions in a community setting. We selected a random sample of 579 individuals from three different primary health care centers and collected information on symptoms through a standardized questionnaire.
Results: Our main study finding was an overall population prevalence of 14.34% (95% CI 11.58-17.46%) of post COVID-19. Only 9% of patients were hospitalized in our study. Prevalence was higher in women than men (15.63% versus 13.06%) and the most frequent persistent symptoms were fatigue (44.6%), smell impairment (27.7%) and dyspnea (24.09%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of post COVID-19 condition was lower than expected according to other studies published in the literature. The prevalence was higher in women than men, and the most frequent persistent symptoms were fatigue, smell impairment, and dyspnea.
Keywords: COVID-19; general practice; post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; primary health care; public health.