New Coronavirus Symptoms Include Loss of Smell and Taste
For a while, scientists suspected that loss of taste and smell where tell-tale signs of the coronavirus. Now, the CDC has officially listed them as symptoms.
The novel 2019 coronavirus is not an entirely understood disease. New information on its transmission, contagiousness and symptoms are continuing to emerge. Among the latest information about the virus are a few new official symptoms: loss of taste and smell.
One New York Times article echoes the emerging thoughts about coronavirus symptoms like loss of smell and loss of taste—“anosmia” and “ageusia,” respectively. It shares the stories of a mother who could not smell her infant’s diaper, restaurant chefs who could not taste the ingredients in their dishes and others who say they can’t pick up the scent of shampoo or kitty litter.
Over the weekend, the CDC officially listed loss of taste and smell as symptoms of the virus—a validation of the ruminating concerns about these symptoms across the world. For the weeks leading up to this change, even before these symptoms were listed as “official,” doctors across the world have been recommending that individuals exhibiting loss of taste or smell stay home and self-quarantine.
“We really want to raise awareness that this is a sign of infection and that anyone who develops loss of sense of smell should self-isolate,” said Prof. Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society. “It could contribute to slowing transmission and save lives.”
The British physicians cited reports from other countries indicating that a significant number of coronavirus patients experienced anosmia. In South Korea, where testing has been widespread, 30 percent of 2,000 patients who tested positive experienced anosmia as their major presenting symptom (these were mild cases).
Given the new information on these symptoms, many employees in a number of industries have been on high alert, including otolaryngologists performing upper airway surgeries and examinations.
As information continues to emerge about the coronavirus, it’s important to stay up to date with all of the daily and weekly changes. Now, with a large number of individuals asymptomatic with the virus, understanding even the mild symptoms is crucial.