Coronavirus symptoms: Loss of sense of smell, taste added to list
Research into Covid-19 indicates that, as well as a high temperature, a cough and breathing issues, anosmia and ageusia are also possible symptoms.
As time goes by, scientists and medical experts are gaining a clearer picture of SARS-CoV-2 and the disease that the virus causes, Covid-19. Although the key coronavirus symptoms identified so far are a high temperature, a persistent cough and breathing difficulties, in recent days a hindered sense of smell has been added to the list of potential warning signs. Known as anosmia, this phenomenon can at times be accompanied by a loss of taste functions, or ageusia.
"There is a clear link between anosmia and the virus"
This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Hendrick Streeck, the director of the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn in Germany, who told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last week: “Almost all infected people we interviewed […] described a loss of smell and taste lasting several days. It goes so far that a mother could not smell the full diaper of her child.”
Meanwhile, the president of France’s National Council of Otorhinolaryngologists, Jean-Michel Klein, has said: “There is a clear link between anosmia and the virus. Not all those infected by Covid-19 are anosmic, but all those suffering from isolated anosmia without a local cause for this, without inflammation, are coming back as Covid-19 positive.” Klein added that it is younger coronavirus patients, usually those aged between 23 and 45, who are most affected by a lack of smell.
Loss of smell "isn't exclusively a symptom of the coronavirus"
Speaking on Spanish radio on Friday, the head of otorhinolaryngology at the Hospital de la Princesa in Madrid, Eduardo Raboso, has supported the finding, but stressed that Covid-19 is by no means the only respiratory infection that can bring about anosmia. “The coronavirus is leading to the loss of smell, which in turn also affects many patients’ sense of taste,” Raboso told Cadena SER. “However, it isn’t exclusively a symptom of the coronavirus.
“Many viral respiratory infections can damage your sense of smell. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. It’s linked to respiratory viruses and every year we see cases of loss of smell during the course of viral infections of a more or less exceptional nature. What is true is that a significant number of patients infected with the coronavirus show a change in their sense of smell that also seriously impacts on their sense of taste.”
According to Klein, “People who start to notice that they're suffering from anosmia should isolate themselves as a precaution and wear a mask, even with their family.”