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Olfactory Dysfunction in the COVID-19 Outbreak

Izquierdo-Dominguez A1,2,3,*, Rojas-Lechuga MJ4,5,6, Mullol J4,5,6,**, Alobid I2,4,5,6,*,**

1Allergy Department, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain
2Unidad Alergo Rino, Centro Médico Teknon, Barcelona, Spain
3Allergy Department, Clínica Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain
4Rhinology Unit & Smell Clinic, ENT Department, Hospital Clinic Barcelona, CIBERES, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
5Clinical & Experimental Respiratory Immunoallergy, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain
6CIBER of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES), Barcelona, Spain
*These authors contributed as corresponding authors.
**These authors share senior author responsibilities.

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2020; Vol 30(5) : 317-326
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0567

The first cases of coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) occurred in Wuhan, China, and the disease rapidly become a public health emergency of international proportions. COVID-19 can cause mild-to-severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The clinical manifestations of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, shortness of breath, sore throat, and headache. We performed this narrative review to analyze the current literature on postviral olfactory dysfunction related to the SARSCoV- 2 pandemic. Since the initial anecdotal reports from China, increasingly frequent international reports on COVID-19 indicate that 5% to 85% of affected patients lose their sense of smell, thus highlighting the very heterogeneous nature of the literature in this area. Therefore, we advise home isolation measures and/or social distancing, as well as tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 when possible, in patients with sudden and severe loss of smell who cannot be promptly evaluated.

Key words: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Taste disorder, Loss of smell, Anosmia, SARS-CoV-2