The COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant economic burden on society worldwide. This burden consists of direct, indirect and intangible costs. In context of the health economics, in 2020 the greatest emphasis was placed on the costs of COVID-19 diagnostics and acute treatment. At the beginning of 2021, the challenge for the health economics is the costs and benefits of vaccination. At the same time, attention must be paid to the long-term consequences of COVID-19. The aim of this research is to forecast the expansion of a post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) as a potential consequence of COVID-19 and its burden on society.
The survey data were obtained from COVID-19 patients cohort established at the National Biobank – Genome Database of Latvian population. The questionnaire for the purpose to identify the potential CFS patients contains questions on the CFS relevant symptoms in accordance with CDC (Fukuda) criteria. Descriptive and analytical statistical methods have been utilised for analyses of the obtained data.
CFS is a poorly understood, complex, multi-system disorder, with severe fatigue not alleviated by rest, and other symptoms, which lead to substantial reductions in functional activity and quality of life. The data of the survey showed that 53 patients (44.2%) of 120 respondents who had not been diagnosed with CFS before COVID-19, reported at least one of the symptoms characteristics of CFS. 20 respondents (16.7%), reported 4 to 8 CFS specific symptoms simultaneously. Noticeably, that 95% of these respondents reported launching symptoms after COVID-19. With modest projections and the assumption that the burden of CFS before COVID-19 was around € 50 billion in Europe, the expansion of CFS by at least 15% will significantly increase the financial burden on society.
CFS must be considered as a real consequence of COVID-19 in the burden assessment, with long-term financial impact on society.
© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.