The British Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT UK) have revealed that some asymptomatic patients, those who don't have a fever or cough, could instead show a loss of smell or taste after contracting COVID-19.
In a statement, ENT UK and the British Rhinological Society reveal that evidence from South Korea, China and Italy found a significant number of patients testing positive for the coronavirus were suffering anosmia (loss of sense of smell) without other symptoms.
There is the potential to reduce COVID-19 transmission by requesting that individuals with new onset of anosmia self-isolate. A lost sense of smell as marker of COVID-19 infection... for full details see below pic.twitter.com/udkBMwwJ1F— ENT UK (@ENT_UK) March 20, 2020
They added that doctors in the US, Iran, France and Northern Italy have seen an increase in those who were asymptomatic other than the recent onset of anosmia.
These patients could be some of the hidden carriers who have facilitated the very rapid spread of COVID-19, however, they do not meet the criteria for testing or self-isolation.
"If anosmia was added to the current symptom criteria used to trigger quarantine, and any adult with anosmia but no other symptoms was asked to self-isolate for seven days, we might potentially be able to reduce the number of otherwise asymptomatic individuals who continue to act as vectors, not realising the need to self-isolate," the statement reads.
At the moment, a high temperature and a continuous cough are the only symptoms needed to trigger self-isolation.
The statement also stated that this was important for healthcare workers who may not be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to "help counter the higher rates of infection found among ENT surgeons compared to other healthcare workers".
The infected surgeons likely caught COVID-19 from patients who were otherwise asymptomatic.
Utah Jazz basketball player Rudy Gobert has taken to Twitter to reveal he also lost his senses of taste and smell.
He wrote, "Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?"
Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) March 22, 2020
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the virus and was asymptomatic at the time he was tested.
The same day his results came back positive, the NBA cancelled the season. Now, at least a dozen more players have tested positive.
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