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Sniffing out the evidence; It’s now time for public health bodies recognize the link between COVID-19 and smell and taste disturbance

Volume: 58 - Issue: 4

Firstpage: 402 - Lastpage: 403

J.R. Lechien - C. Hopkins - S. Saussez

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, anecdotal observations have been accumulating rapidly that sudden anosmia and dysgeusia are peculiar symptoms associated with the COVID-19 infection. Prof C. Hopkins, as President of British Rhinological Society, published a letter describing “the loss of sense of smell as a marker of COVID-19 infection” and proposed that adults presenting with anosmia but no other symptoms should self-isolate for seven days. The Hopkins team published the first case report and case series as well as other evidence that isolated sudden onset anosmia (ISOA), should be considered highly suspicious for SARS-CoV-2(1). Subsequently, a larger series of 2428 patients presenting with new onset anosmia during the COVID-19 pandemic has been reported, of whom 16% report loss of sense of smell as an isolated symptom. Only 51% reported the recognized symptoms of cough or fever. A major limitation of this series however, was a lack of access to testing to confirm the COVID-19 status of the patients(2); in the 80 who had been tested 74% were positive. In the same way, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (AA0-HNS) proposed “that anosmia could be added to the list of screening tools for possible COVID-19 infection. More, they warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing those patients".

J.R. Lechien - C. Hopkins - S. Saussez - Sniffing out the evidence; It’s now time for public health bodies recognize the link between COVID-19 and smell and taste disturbance

Rhinology 58-4: 402-403, 2020