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How a small virus changed our world and the special role of anosmia

Volume: 58 - Issue: 4

Firstpage: 305 - Lastpage: 305

W.J. Fokkens

In January 2020 we encountered the first news on a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infecting the population of the Chinese city Wuhan and resulting for some patients in a potentially deadly pneumonia. Currently, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly around the globe. For many years we have been warned that we would face a new pandemic, most likely with a zoonotic virus. For COVID-19 it was shown that transmission can occur via droplets and aerosols that can remain in the air for some hours and also via contaminated surfaces. Extra risks have been suggested to exists for aerosol producing surgery in sinus- and skull-base surgery. Ongoing transmission is especially difficult to prevent when the pathogen can be transmitted during the incubation period before the patient experiences symptoms. In March, Claire Hopkins and colleagues warned the rhinologic community and later health authorities about the significant increase in anosmia (and dysgeusia) related to (often further) asymptomatic COVID-19 and pointed to the possibility of recognizing COVID-19 patients by unexplained anosmia without other symptoms.

W.J. Fokkens - How a small virus changed our world and the special role of anosmia
Rhinology 58-4: 305-305, 2020