Clinical characteristics of the Omicron variant: results from a Nationwide Symptoms Survey in the Faroe Islands

Maria Skaalum Petersen, Sunnvør K. í Kongsstovu, Eina Hansen Eliasen, Sólrun Larsen, Jóhanna Ljósá Hansen, Nicolina Vest, Maria Marjunardóttir Dahl, Debes Hammershaimb Christiansen, Lars Fodgaard Møller, Marnar Fríðheim Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives
Omicron appears to lead to a milder illness for patients compared with previous COVID-19 variants. However, not all infected with Omicron would describe their illness as mild. In this study, we investigate the experienced severity and symptoms of the Omicron variant.
Methods
We conducted a nationwide cross-sectional study, including 5036 individuals of all ages, consisting of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases from 1 January to 31 January 2022 (n = 4506) and a control group without SARS-COV-2 infection in December 2021 or January 2022 (n = 530). Omicron was dominant during this period. Cases were asked about their acute symptoms and answered a web-based questionnaire 10–30 days after their positive test while controls were asked about symptoms during the past week.
Results
Among cases, 97% reported at least one symptom during the acute phase compared with 79% of controls. Just over half the cases assessed their illness as asymptomatic or mild, whereas 46% assessed their illness as moderate or severe. Children reported fewer symptoms and less severe illnesses than adults (P Conclusion
Most of those infected with Omicron experience symptoms, and the Omicron variant appears to lead to less severe disease. However, this does not mean that all the infected experience an Omicron infection as mild. The unprecedented rate of Omicron infections worldwide leads to urgent questions about the rate of long COVID after Omicron infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-643
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Infectoius Diseases
Volume122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Omicron
  • COVID-19
  • Clinical characteristics
  • Faroe Islands
  • survey

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