Utility of hyposmia and hypogeusia for the diagnosis of COVID-19

Letter presents findings of an online questionnaire completed by 259 French patients that showed hypogeusia (loss of taste) and hyposmia (loss of smell) were strongly linked to COVID-19 diagnosis, separately and combined, in patients with/without history of ENT disorders.

SPS commentary:

The authors suggests this is first report of discriminant clinical features that might be used for diagnosis of COVID-19 in patients with influenza-like illness. Of the 259 respondents, 68 (26%) reported a positive test for SARS-CoV-2; hypogeusia was reported by 63 patients (24%), hyposmia by 51 patients (20%), both hypogeusia and hyposmia by 43 patients (17%), and ENT disorders by 82 patients (32%).


Another letter notes that up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the low prevalence of sensorineural viral anosmia in society as a whole has made clinical research challenging. It suggests that physicians evaluating patients with acute-onset loss of smell or taste, particularly in the context of a patent nasal airway should have a high index of suspicion for concomitant SARS-CoV-2 infection, though it is still too early in the understanding of COVID-19 to definitively establish the incidence as well as the full-spectrum clinical utility of these symptoms.


The Lancet Infectious Diseases

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