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

16 Apr, 2020

Early and accurate diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is key to the management of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Following its emergence in China in December, 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has spread in the northern hemisphere during the winter season, when other respiratory viruses, including influenza, co-circulate. This epidemiological conjunction complicates clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 because patients often present with influenza-like illness (ILI). Consequently, the definite diagnosis of COVID-19 mostly relies on positive RT-PCR on respiratory samples, although discriminant features have been reported on thoracic CT scan. However, access to these diagnostic tests is limited in the context of this large-scale pandemic. Distinctive clinical features would be welcome to better select patients who require investigations. During the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in France, we noticed that many patients reported loss of smell (hyposmia) and taste (hypogeusia). We aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of these symptoms.

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