According to both news sources, doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom are now calling for the loss of the sense of smell and taste to be added on to the list of "screening tools" for use when diagnosing potential Covid-19 cases. "A high rate of transmission of COVID-19 to otolaryngologists has been reported from China, Italy and Iran, many resulting in death". Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society wrote.
In Britain, ENT doctors have urged health authorities to advise people with a sudden loss of smell or taste to self-isolate even if they have no other symptoms.
"There is already good evidence from South Korea, China, and Italy that significant numbers of patients with proven COVID-19 infection have developed anosmia/hyposmia", a statement from ENTUK reads. Not many prior epidemiological studies into COVID-19 cases have collected data on anosmia, so at this stage it is unclear how common this symptom may be.
According to the British physicians, reports from other countries reveal that many coronavirus patients experienced anosmia.
Some doctors are warning that anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, a decreased sense of taste, are possible markers of a mild COVID-19 infection.More news: Non-essential workers to be stopped from using Tube during coronavirus crisis
It is important for people experiencing these symptoms to self-isolate themselves.
Hopkins said she hopes that flagging another potential system will resonate with those who haven't taken social distancing and self-isolation seriously enough - the ones who do not realize they may carry the virus. "If someone says yes, it would definitely make me more suspicious that they need further work-up". "This potentially gives us an opportunity to capture some of those people who are silent spreaders of disease. The patients I'm seeing haven't had a cough or fever at all".
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery on Sunday noted growing anecdotal evidence that anosmia and dysgeusia - taste disorder - were "significant symptoms" of the virus.
Should the loss of sense of smell be added to the list of COVID-19 symptoms?
In London, still struggling with bad symptoms after 10 days of infection, Haynes is trying to motivate herself to eat without a sense of taste.
Reports suggest that anosmia may be a common symptom among mild cases of COVID-19, who are among the most likely to spread the disease because they don't actually feel that sick at all.More news: Mobile launches its $15 5G plan ahead of the Sprint merger
Why the lost sense of smell?
But now it has become clear that the loss of smell can be a clear indicator you may be carrying the virus, even if you are not sick. (For those experiencing short-term anosmia, Hummel and Hopkins agree that the sense of smell typically returns as the body recovers). In a previous study, human coronaviruses were identified in the nasal secretions of one of the 24 anosmia patients studied. "On the other hand, it's about not spreading the virus", he said.
"If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. That's the other side of the coin".
If you wake up feeling otherwise fine but without your sense of smell, could that be a sign you've been infected with coronavirus?
"Without adequate testing, I don't think you can know for sure", Verret added. If a person who didn't have conditions such as hay fever or chronic allergies did develop a sudden loss of taste or smell, that could "warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing of these individuals", the AAOS said.More news: Canadiens temporarily laying off 60% of employees