Occupational differences in the prevalence and severity of long-COVID: Analysis of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey

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Objectives To establish whether prevalence and severity of long-COVID symptoms vary by industry and occupation. Methods We used Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS) data (February 2021-April 2022) of working-age participants (16-65 years). Exposures were industry, occupation and major Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) group. Outcomes were self-reported: (1) long-COVID symptoms and (2) reduced function due to long-COVID. Binary (outcome 1) and ordered (outcome 2) logistic regression were used to estimate odds ratios (OR)and prevalence (marginal means). Results Public facing industries, including teaching and education, social care, healthcare, civil service, retail and transport industries and occupations, had the highest likelihood of long-COVID. By major SOC group, those in caring, leisure and other services (OR 1.44, 95% CIs 1.38 to 1.52) had substantially elevated odds than average. For almost all exposures, the pattern of ORs for long-COVID symptoms followed SARS-CoV-2 infections, except for professional occupations (eg, some healthcare, education, scientific occupations) (infection: OR<1; long-COVID: OR>1). The probability of reporting long-COVID for industry ranged from 7.7% (financial services) to 11.6% (teaching and education); whereas the prevalence of reduced function by € a lot' ranged from 17.1% (arts, entertainment and recreation) to 22%-23% (teaching and education and armed forces) and to 27% (not working). Conclusions The risk and prevalence of long-COVID differs across industries and occupations. Generally, it appears that likelihood of developing long-COVID symptoms follows likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection, except for professional occupations. These findings highlight sectors and occupations where further research is needed to understand the occupational factors resulting in long-COVID.




Kromydas, T., Demou, E., Edge, R., Gittins, M., Katikireddi, S. V., Pearce, N., … Rhodes, S. (2023). Occupational differences in the prevalence and severity of long-COVID: Analysis of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 80(10), 545–552. https://doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2023-108930

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