Prevalence of hyposmia and hypogeusia in 390 COVID-19 hospitalized patients and outpatients: a cross-sectional study.Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2021 Apr; 40(4):691-697.EJ
Anecdotal evidence rapidly accumulated during March 2020 from sites around the world that sudden hyposmia and hypogeusia are significant symptoms associated with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Our objective was to describe the prevalence of hyposmia and hypogeusia and compare it in hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients to evaluate an association of these symptoms with disease severity. We performed a cross-sectional survey during 5 consecutive days in March 2020, within a tertiary referral center, associated outpatient clinic, and two primary care outpatient facilities in Paris. All SARS-CoV-2-positive patients hospitalized during the study period and able to be interviewed (n = 198), hospital outpatients seen during the previous month (n = 129), and all COVID-19-highly suspect patients in two primary health centers (n = 63) were included. Hospitalized patients were significantly more often male (64 vs 40%) and older (66 vs 43 years old in median) and had significantly more comorbidities than outpatients. Hyposmia and hypogeusia were reported by 33% of patients and occurred significantly less frequently in hospitalized patients (12% and 13%, respectively) than in the health centers' outpatients (33% and 43%, respectively) and in the hospital outpatients (65% and 60%, respectively). Hyposmia and hypogeusia appeared more frequently after other COVID-19 symptoms. Patients with hyposmia and/or hypogeusia were significantly younger and had significantly less respiratory severity criteria than patients without these symptoms. Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction occurs frequently in COVID-19, especially in young, non-severe patients. These symptoms might be a useful tool for initial diagnostic work-up in patients with suspected COVID-19.