COVID-19 symptoms may include altered senses of smell, taste

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The Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (SEORL-CCC) recommends including the recent appearance of alterations in smell and taste (anosmia, hyposmia, ageusia or dysgeusia) and pharyngeal pain (also odynophagia), without any other apparent cause, as a suspicious symptom of infection with the new coronavirus, causing the COVID-19 disease.

The symptom, Kumar says, is also appearing in otherwise healthy people, indicating that a loss of sense of smell could be a vital indicator of whether somebody is carrying the virus unknowingly-especially in the United Kingdom, where tests for the virus are only available in hospitals for the most serious of cases, leaving many people with mild symptoms unsure of whether they are infected by the coronavirus or the common flu.

Doctors say loss of smell may be a telltale sign of coronavirus. Health care workers swabbing the area for virus testing typically wear full protective gear.

According to the telephone survey by doctors in the virus-hit city of Daegu, 15.3 percent of 3,191 virus patients, or 488 patients, said they lost their sense of smell or taste.

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.

"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", the statement says.

If people who have anosmia but no other symptoms were to self-isolate for seven days, "we might be able to reduce the number of otherwise asymptomatic individuals who continue to act as vectors", according to the ENT UK statement. He also said it's hard to assess reports of a loss of taste because people with an impaired sense of smell often report a loss of flavor, which is technically different from an impairment in taste. "I feel that we need to add this to the self isolation rules, because these young fit people are spreading it around", he says. "It could contribute to slowing transmission and save lives".

"That's extremely unusual", she said, adding that several of these patients had called Britain's health authorities concerned about COVID-19 but were told there was no need to self-isolate because it was not a recognised symptom. In their statement, Hopkins and Kumar highlighted four patients they had seen, all under 40, who had reported sudden anosmia in the last week.

"Anosmia, in particular, has been seen in patients ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus with no other symptoms", the academy wrote. They also are advising against performing any nonessential sinus endoscopy procedures because the virus replicates in the nose and throat, meaning any exam could prompt coughs and/or sneezing that can expose doctors to a high level of the virus should the patient be infected.

In Germany, Hendrik Streeck, a virologist at the University of Bonn, interviewed more than 100 coronavirus patients. Kumar was quoted by Sky News as saying. "The patients I'm seeing haven't had a cough or fever at all".

A Centers for Disease Control illustration of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Our I-Team found another coronavirus patient - a 26-year-old yoga teacher - hospitalized in NY that experienced the same symptom.

"There is evolving evidence that otolaryngologists are among the highest risk group when performing upper airway surgeries and examinations", a Friday notice on the academy's website also reads.

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