In this paper recently published in JAMA, the authors evaluated the prevalence, intensity, and timing of an altered sense of smell or taste in mildly symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. In particular, adult patients consecutively assessed at Treviso Regional Hospital between March 19 and March 22, 2020 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were included in the study. Of 374 eligible patients, 202 completed the telephone survey. An altered sense of smell or taste was reported by 130 patients (64.4%, 95% CI, 57.3%-71.0%) and 45 of them (34.6%) also reported a blocked nose. Other frequent symptoms were fatigue (68.3%), either dry or productive cough (60.4%), and fever (55.5%). Among all patients, the timing of onset of an altered sense of smell or taste in relation to other symptoms was before other symptoms in 24 (11.9%); at same time in 46 (22.8%); and after other symptoms in 54 (26.7%). An altered sense of smell or taste was reported as the only symptom by 6 patients (3.0%). This paper underlines that alterations in smell or taste were frequently reported by mildly symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and sometimes were the first apparent symptoms.
by Marialuisa Zedde and Francesco Cavallieri