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About half of the people discharged from hospital after being infected with the new coronavirus in Wakayama Prefecture have shown symptoms believed to be aftereffects of COVID-19, according to a survey by the prefectural government.

The symptoms include hair loss and memory defects, as well as common symptoms among coronavirus patients, such as smell and taste disorder and a sense of fatigue.

The survey was conducted between September and October, covering 216 people who had been out of hospital for two weeks or more after being hospitalized for COVID-19. Valid answers were collected from 163 of them.

According to the survey, 75 respondents, or 46% of the total, said they had some sort of symptoms that appeared to be aftereffects of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

With multiple answers allowed, 30 people said they had problems with their sense of smell, while 26 said they were feeling fatigue. Also, 20 respondents had problems with their sense of taste, and the same number were experiencing difficulty breathing.

Hair loss was cited by 12 respondents, while six were suffering from memory defects, such as forgetfulness. Possible relations between hair loss and COVID-19 have been studied in Japan and abroad.

The survey also showed that 16 people, or about 30%, of 51 respondents who had been discharged from hospital two months or more before said their health conditions had yet to recover.

They included a respondent who had been suffering from health problems for five months or more after leaving hospital.

The prefectural government's health promotion section said a causal relationship between such symptoms and COVID-19 cannot be proved at this moment.

"We should not underestimate (the effects of new coronavirus infections) as a variety of symptoms have been found in more people than expected," said an official of the local government. "We want to (use the survey results to) raise people's awareness and introduce measures" to prevent infections, the official added.

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