Loss of smell may be early symptom of coronavirus

A doctor tests a patient for coronavirus

According to British ear, nose, and throat doctors, along with other leading physicians, a possible indicator of the coronavirus lies in the momentary loss of the sense of smell or taste, also known as hyposmia or anosmia. One doctor, Rachel Kaye, who received this information from her colleagues in New Rochelle, says, "This raised a lot of alarms for me personally", because those patients "won't know to self-quarantine".

Experts at the World Health Organization say they have not confirmed that loss of smell or taste is a symptom of the coronavirus, but they have not ruled it out.

Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK, has noticed a sharp rise in cases of isolated anosmia - the total or partial loss of smell, without any nasal blockages - not only in Britain, but also across Europe and beyond. In my practice, patients all around me are reporting this.

But mounting evidence from countries such as South Korea, China and Italy points to another symptom that may be a candidate to join the list: a newly developed loss of the sense of smell, and with it, taste. In South Korea, some 30% of patients testing positive report lost smell as their main symptom in an otherwise mild illness. "They were nearly all under 40, and they were all told not to self-isolate". This novel virus is also a member of the coronavirus family which, alongside the more deadly SARS and MERS viruses, includes four strains known to cause a mild form of the common cold.

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.

According to Garfield County Public Health, a formal diagnosis of COVID-19 will not change the priority to self-isolate if a person is experiencing manageable symptoms. This could represent a potential source of asymptomatic carriers who could be at risk of unknowingly infecting others. "This potentially gives us an opportunity to capture some of those people who are silent spreaders of disease". Vivekanandan said she is more concerned about fever, cough and shortness of breath in connection with the virus.

In addition, there have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms - this has been widely shared on medical discussion boards by surgeons from all regions managing a high incidence of cases.


Additionally, the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) recently proposed adding anosmia to the list of COVID-19 screening tools.

Reports of anosmia appearing as a possible symptom of coronavirus have reverberated online in recent days.

Reports suggest that anosmia may be a common symptom among mild cases of COVID-19, who are among the most likely to spread the disease because they don't actually feel that sick at all.

Obviously, if you yourself find that your sense of smell is missing or reduced, and that you can't taste your food or it tastes amusing or unpleasant, take immediate action to avoid infecting others. "A high rate of transmission of COVID-19 to otolaryngologists has been reported from China, Italy and Iran, many resulting in death".

"The sense of taste and smell are very closely related", he said.

"On one end, it would be nice to have a good study". "Many people out there have anosmia".

These olfactory fibres supply a tiny little area called the olfactory epithelium - it's a couple of millimetres across - which is responsible for our sense of smell.

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