Loss of smell, taste symptoms of COVID-19, new study shows

A new study reveals that loss of smell and taste is strongly associated with COVID-19.

The researchers, who detailed their findings in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, examined 59 of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and 203 who tested negative, out of 1,480 patients with symptoms similar to the flu who were tested for the disease March 3-29.

Forty of the 59 positive COVID-19 patients (68 percent) reported a loss of smell, and 42 of the 59 (71 percent) reported a loss of taste.

Comparatively, 33 of the 203 patients who tested negative for the disease (16 percent) reported a loss of smell, and 35 of 203 (17 percent) reported a loss of taste.

The most common first sign of a COVID-19 infection remains fever, but fatigue and loss of smell and taste follow as other very common initial symptoms," said Carol Yan, MD, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at UC San Diego Health as well as a study author.

"It is our hope that with these findings other institutions will follow suit and not only list smell and taste loss as a symptom of COVID-19, but use it as a screening measure for the virus across the world," Dr. Yan said.


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