Loss of taste, loss of smell and neurological symptoms are being reported in patients with COVID-19.
A loss of taste (ageusia) and a loss of smell (anosmia) has been reported in a study of 417 patients spanning 12 European hospitals. In some cases (11.8%), loss of smell appears prior to the development of classic symptoms. Loss of taste or smell as an initial presenting symptom was more common in females than in males.1 The authors urge that sudden anosmia or ageusia needs to be recognized by the international scientific community as important symptoms of the COVID-19 infection.1
Neurologic symptoms are also being reported particularly in patients with severe illness. Overall, 36.4% of these patients had neurologic manifestations. Compared with patients with nonsevere infection, patients with severe infection were older, had more underlying disorders, especially hypertension, and showed fewer typical symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and cough. Patients with more severe infection had neurologic manifestations, such as acute cerebrovascular diseases, impaired consciousness, and skeletal muscle injury.2 The authors of this study urge that during the epidemic period of COVID-19, when seeing patients with neurologic manifestations, clinicians should suspect SARS-CoV-2 infection as a differential diagnosis to avoid delayed diagnosis and lose the chance to treat and prevent further transmission.2
1. Lechien JR, Chiesa-Estomba CM, De Siati DR, et al. Olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions as a clinical presentation of mild-to-moderate forms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19): a multicenter European study. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. April 2020. doi:10.1007/s00405-020-05965-1
2. Mao L, Jin H, Wang M, et al. Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Neurol. April 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1127