The British Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT UK) in a statement released on March 21 said that those COVID-19 patients who don't develop cough or fever as symptoms could show loss of smell or taste as a sign of coronavirus contraction. According to the release, there is good evidence from China, Italy, South Korea that shows COVID-19 positive patients have developed anosmia, a condition related to the loss of smell.
The British Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT UK) release stated, "Post-viral anosmia is one of the leading causes of loss of sense of smell in adults, accounting for up to 40% cases of anosmia. Viruses that give rise to the common cold are well known to cause post-infectious loss, and over 200 different viruses are known to cause upper respiratory tract infections. Previously described coronaviruses are thought to account for 10-15% cases. It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the novel COVID-19 virus would also cause anosmia in infected patients."
As per the release, Germany has reported 2 in 3 COVID-19 patients have anosmia, while in South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30 per cent of coronavirus positive patients have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom. The release further suggested that there is a potential of reducing coronavirus cases by asking adults to self-quarantine themselves if they have anosmia but aren't showing any other symptoms.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 14,600 lives across the world and has infected nearly 3,38,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019, making it the deadliest disease outbreak of the 21st century. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
Italy, Iran, and Spain are the most affected countries outside mainland China, where, as of March 22 the combined death toll stands at 8,933. Italy has surpassed China to record the most number of deaths in the world due to the virus outbreak, while Iran and Spain both have crossed the 1,500 mark.