Loss of taste and smell could be crucial symptoms of coronavirus

Woman sick in bed coughing

Hopkins is president of the British Rhinological Society and Kumar is the president of ENT UK. Normally, Kumar says, a busy surgery like his would receive perhaps one report of lost smell or taste per month.

Maria Van Kerkhove, an outbreak expert at the World Health Organization, told reporters Monday that the United Nations health agency is looking into the question of whether the loss of smell or taste is a defining feature of the disease.

In France the head of the health service, Jerome Salomon, on Friday said ENT specialists had observed a "surge" in anosmia cases and said while it was still relatively rare, it had been seen in younger patients with "mild" symptoms. And a virologist in Germany who interviewed more than 100 coronavirus patients with only a mild form of the disease says that more than two thirds reported losing their sense of smell and taste for several days.

In a small percentage of cases, she said, those with the virus have diarrhea, but that usually is in conjunction with one or more of the prominent symptoms, she said.

"In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30 percent of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases", Hopkins wrote. Encourage them to self-isolate for at least seven days.

Impairment of our sense of smell is a common symptom of having a viral infection, such as a cold or influenza, because these viruses invade our upper respiratory tract and cause damage to the olfactory receptor neurons that enable us to smell.

Robert, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, went to work on Monday, not knowing his loss of smell could indicate COVID-19. This could represent a potential source of asymptomatic carriers who could be at risk of unknowingly infecting others.

In the review of studies carried out by SEORL-CCC, they have found that there is evidence of the affinity of the SARS CoV-2 virus for nerve cells. "This potentially gives us an opportunity to capture some of those people who are silent spreaders of disease".

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France is the only other European country with more than 350 deaths on Tuesday, according to WHO . And 40 percent of those cases were reported in the US.

Her dry cough and fever had briefly subsided and her appetite had returned, so she cooked herself a spaghetti bolognese.

"Anosmia, in particular, has been seen in patients ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus with no other symptoms", reads the statement from The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Emphasizing it too early, or too heavily, could mean clinicians might miss patients who haven't lost their sense of smell, but who are infected and have other symptoms. They cite reports from South Korea, China and Italy.

He said the warning, without further research, could cause panic even among those who have long suffered from anosmia, further straining outpatient clinics.

Nine out of the 20 patients she saw last week had recently lost their ability to smell. "Many people out there have anosmia".

But to do that, clinicians need more data on the role anosmia might play in Covid-19. "That's the other side of the coin".

Some medical specialists think that the sudden inability to smell or taste familiar odors and flavors could be an early sign of the novel coronavirus infection. Sore throats are an additional symptom, she said. Some patients, though "very few" overall, had reported gastrointestinal problems, runny noses or sneezing. But some health care workers are encouraging their peers to consider the symptom when caring for patients they suspect might have be infected.

However, now in Australia, you do not meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing if you have lost your sense of smell.

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