British doctor group warns ‘loss of smell’ could be coronavirus symptom

Loss of sense of smell may be a symptom of coronavirus, according to the president of the British Rhinological Society.

“Post-viral anosmia is one of the leading causes of loss of sense of smell in adults, accounting for up to 40% cases of anosmia. Viruses that give rise to the common cold are well known to cause post-infectious loss, and over 200 different viruses are known to cause upper respiratory tract infections. Previously described coronaviruses are thought to account for 10-15% cases,” professor Claire Hopkins wrote in a report published Sunday.

“It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the novel COVID-19 virus would also cause anosmia in infected patients,” she added, noting that South Korean, Chinese and Italian coronavirus patients have all been known to develop the condition, and more than two-thirds of confirmed German cases are reported to have it.

“In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases,” she adds.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for the virus earlier this month, also reported such symptoms, tweeting Sunday that “loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days.”

Simon Carney, professor of ear, nose and throat surgery at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, told Bloomberg that loss of taste and smell should be tracked as part of screening procedures, saying this could bridge the gap left by asymptomatic patients.

“It is these ‘silent carriers’ who may remain undetected by current screening procedures, which may explain why the disease has progressed so rapidly in so many countries,” Carney, the outgoing president of the Australia and New Zealand Rhinologic Society, told Bloomberg.

Tags Coronavirus loss of smell symptoms

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