Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 6:S1201-9712(20)30637-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.012. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: New loss of smell or taste was not included as common symptoms of COVID-19 until March 2020 when the pandemic started in Western countries. We want to describe the prevalence and features of anosmia and dysgeusia in COVID-19 patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively investigated the clinical features of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nord Franche-Comté Hospital, Trevenans, France, between March, 1st and March, 14th 2020. We used SARS-CoV-2 real time RT-PCR in respiratory samples to confirm the cases.
RESULTS: Of 70 patient enrolled, the mean age was 57.0 years and 29 patients (41%) were men. Median Charlson comorbidity index was 1.70(±2.5). Twenty-seven (39%) patients had pneumonia. Fatigue (93% ), cough (80% ) and fever (77% ) were the three main symptoms. Neurologic symptoms were present in more than half of the patients: anosmia (53% ) and dysgeusia (48% ). The mean duration of anosmia was 7.4 (±5, [1-21]) days, 51% (36/70) recovered before 28 days of evolution. Only one patient with anosmia had not recovered at the end of the follow-up. Patients with anosmia had less often a pneumonia (10/37 vs 17/33, p = 0.036), were less often hospitalized (13/37 vs 20/33, p = 0.033) and needed less often oxygen therapy (6/37 vs 17/33, p = 0.002) than patients without anosmia. There were no statistically differences for viral load between patients with anosmia and patients without anosmia (5.5 [2.0-8.6] vs 5.3 [2.1-8.5] log copies/ml respectively, p = 0.670). The fatality of COVID-19 in our study was 6% with four deaths.
CONCLUSIONS: Anosmia and dysgeusia are present in half of COVID-19 patients. The mean duration of anosmia was 7 days and the outcome seems favorable in less than 28 days.