Is losing the sense of smell and taste a new symptom of COVID-19?


(Photo: CGTN)

In South Korea, around 15 percent of COVID-19 patients have said they lost their sense of smell or taste, according to the country's national broadcaster Korean Broadcasting System (KBS).

The report is based on a telephone survey by doctors in the city of Daegu and indicates that the loss of smell or taste may be an early sign of coronavirus infection.

A respiratory virus, like the new coronavirus, can undermine the ability to detect odors, said Jin Beom-sik, a professor of infectious disease at the National Medical Center.
Patients in South Korea are not the only ones to report such symptoms. Many who tested positive in the UK and the US are also reporting they can't smell or taste properly.

NBA player Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for COVID-19, tweeted earlier this week: "Loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven't been able to smell anything for the last 4 days."

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, increasing evidence indicates that lost or reduced sense of smell and loss of taste are significant symptoms associated with COVID-19, and that they have been seen in patients who ultimately tested positive with no other symptoms.

The organization is proposing that anosmia, hyposmia and dysgeusia be added to the list of screening tools for COVID-19.