According to several British nose, throat, and ear doctors, the sudden loss of sense of taste and smell can be a symptom of the coronavirus even before symptoms appear. They concluded after the examination of young people who were infected with the virus and who showed no further signs.
A British Association of NKO doctors said in a statement yesterday that there is “strong evidence” that loss of taste and smell can be a hitherto ignored symptom of the coronavirus. They base this on corona patients from South Korea, China, and Italy, who all showed that characteristic, but had no other symptoms.
According to British professor Nirmal Kumar, head of ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat, ed.) UK, this may be explained by the fact that the coronavirus mildly affects the airways and nasal cavities of the patients and thus affects their sense of smell and taste.
The data supporting the British hypothesis is still limited, according to The New York Times, yet large enough to warn already. Of 2,000 positively tested individuals in South Korea, 30 percent experienced a loss of their sense of smell, according to a study. Italian physician Marco Metro, chief of cardiology at the hospital in the northern city of Brescia, also tells the NYT that “everyone has just about the same story”. “Ask each patient about his or her partner, and you will be told that – if they are not sick themselves – they have only lost their smell and/or taste.” In Germany, several doctors report the same.
The American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology also posted on its website yesterday evening that there is increasing anecdotal evidence that odor and loss of taste may be a symptom in patients who do not show any other signs. The patients’ noses are usually not blocked.
Kumar and his colleague Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, now request that anyone who suddenly experiences the loss of taste and smell should be quarantined temporarily to reduce the number of infections. According to Hopkins, two of her colleagues in the UK are in a critical condition in the hospital.
According to her, NKO doctors are at high risk of infection during medical examinations. The American Association also warned on Friday: “A high degree of transmission of Covid-19 to NKO doctors has been reported in China, Italy, and Iran, which led to death for many.”