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Sudden Loss Of Taste Or Smell Could Mean You're A 'Hidden Carrier' Of COVID-19

New evidence suggests that the sudden loss of smell or taste could indicate that someone is a "hidden carrier" of the coronavirus, Business Insider reported.

Even if that person is presenting no other COVID-19 symptoms, medical officials say they could still be carrying the virus in their system without even realizing it.

In South Korea, Italy, and China, one-third of coronavirus patients reported losing their sense of smell and/or taste.

Unsplash | Eli DeFaria

"In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," Professor Clare Hopkins, the president of the British Rhinological Society, and Professor Nirmal Kumar, the president of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, said in a joint statement.

The professors revealed many COVID-19 patients are only presenting anosmia symptoms, not the usual symptoms of the virus.

Unsplash | Anastasiia Chepinska

These include coughing, respiratory issues, and high fever.

"There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms," the statement reads. "Iran has reported a sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, and many colleagues from the US, France, and Northern Italy have the same experience."

The problem this poses is that people who aren't exhibiting the usual COVID-19 symptoms are not getting tested.

They're also less likely to be isolated, and therefor could spread the deadly disease without even realizing they are a carrier. As Hopkins and Kumar postulated, this could be contributing to the rapid spread of the virus worldwide.

"These patients may be some of the hitherto hidden carriers that have facilitated the rapid spread of COVID-19," they said.

Apparently, it's young people who are more likely to lose their sense of taste or smell from coronavirus than other age groups.

Unsplash | Mika Baumeister

As Kumar told Sky News, "In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose."

Information about the coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing and Diply is committed to providing the most recent data as it becomes available. Some of the information in this story may have changed since publication, and we encourage readers to use online resources from CDC and WHO to stay up to date on the latest information surrounding COVID-19.

h/t: Business Insider, Sky News

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