Olfactory and gustatory abnormalities in COVID-19 cases.Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Oct; 277(10):2775-2781.EA
At the time of writing, there is a pandemic affecting virtually every country on Earth. There is considerable discussion amongst clinicians as well as lay people about anosmia and ageusia in COVID-19 sufferers. We aimed to report the results from comprehensive olfactory and gustatory testing in a series of hospital in-patients.
The prospective study evaluated 81 individuals with a COVID-19 infection, as confirmed by 2019 n-cov Real-Time PCR laboratory testing. The control group consisted of forty individuals with COVID-19 negative. Olfactory and gustatory testings were carried out by an examiner utilizing stringent safety standards and wearing full personal protective equipment. The results obtained in the case group were then compared with those obtained for the controls.
In the case group, 41(50.6%) of patients were male and 40 (49.4%) were female, mean age of 54.16 ± 16.98 years (18-95). In the control group, 21 (52.5%) of subjects were male and 19 (47.5%) were female, and mean age was 55 ± 15.39 years (18-90). Fifty (61.7%) COVID-19-positive patients had complaints related to olfaction. The distribution of olfactory symptoms in the case group differed at the level of statistical significance from the control group (p < 0.001). Turning to gustatory abnormalities, within the case group, 22 individuals (27.2%) had taste malfunction. A statistically significant difference was found in the distribution of gustatory abnormalities between cases and controls (p < 0.001).
Olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions are strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Hyposmia with or without hypogeusia is potentially a reliable indicator of latent COVID-19.