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Anosmia as a result of COVID-19 infection is well recognised. This timely and topical French paper looks at 115 patients with proven SARS-CoV-2 infection, who were contacted with specific questions about olfactory and gustatory disturbance. They found 81% of patients reported alterations in smell or taste without any nasal obstruction or rhinorrhoea. The impairments were more frequently reported in females, younger patients and also those who were housebound. Those who suffered severe forms of COVID-19 infection, requiring ITU, were more likely to have no neurosensory impairments. On average, the onset of olfactory disturbance was two days after the occurrence of general symptoms (fever cough, rhinorrhoea, myalgia) and 64% showed complete recovery by day 15, with partial recovery at day 15 in 33% and no recovery in 2%. It would be nice to see data going beyond this time frame, and I believe it’s likely that the number of patients whose smell function recovers or partially recovers would continue to rise, but that is obviously beyond the scope of this paper. We are going to see a large volume of patients with these symptoms as the pandemic progresses, so this adds some valuable insights into how we can reassure patients that their sense of smell and taste are likely to return to normal. More studies will certainly be useful though!

Prevalence and Recovery From Olfactory and Gustatory Dysfunctions in Covid-19 infection: A Prospective Multicenter Study.
Chary E, Carsuzaa F, Trijolet JP, et al.
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Joanna Stephens

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.

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