An unexpected loss of the sense of smell or anosmia may be the first sign for a person with the new coronavirus infection, according to a new study.
Anosmia develops as the virus causes swelling in the olfactory mucosa. This leads to loss of smell which may be a key clinical indicator in otherwise symptom-free carriers of COVID-19.
Following the findings in the study, the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery has proposed adding anosmia and dysgeusia to the list of screening items for potential novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Already, there is evidence from South Korea, China and Italy that significant numbers of patients with proven COVID-19 infection have developed anosmia/hyposmia. More than 2 in 3 confirmed cases have anosmia in Germany.