Coronavirus breakthrough: United Kingdom app released to help researchers track deadly COVID-19

Coronavirus

David Abel receiving treatment for the coronavirus in a hospital in Japan

But some health care workers are encouraging their peers to consider the symptom when caring for patients they suspect might have be infected.

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If not, they will answer questions on a wide range of symptoms associated with coronavirus, including coughs, fever, fatigue, diarrhoea and confusion. These are symptoms that can come with many different types of respiratory illnesses and are not necessarily indicators of a specific type of infection.

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They also want to be sure the new symptom isn't merely a sign of allergies, a cold, or the seasonal flu, all of which can lead a person to develop anosmia or ageusia, the reduced sense of taste that can sometimes accompany an inability to smell.

The organisation consists of ear, nose, and throat specialists in the United Kingdom and it releases a statement saying that there was "good evidence" that patients in China, Italy and South Korea developed these symptoms, known as anosmia, while they were infected with the virus. This is the loss of one of your five basic senses, indicating that you are at risk. In a statement, they warned that adults experiencing recent anosmia could be unknown carriers of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Thomas Hummel, an ear, nose and throat expert at the University of Dresden in Germany, said Monday he wasn't surprised by the reported link between COVID-19 and anosmia.

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"Anosmia, in particular, has been seen in patients ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus with no other symptoms", reads the statement from The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
So the appearance of those symptoms in people without another explanation should alert doctors to the possibility of a COVID-19 infection, the group said. The sense of smell usually returns when the infection resolves, but in a small percentage of cases, smell loss can persist after other symptoms disappear.

The President of the British Rhinological Society Professor, Clare Hopkins, and the President of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, Professor Nirmal Kumar, said in a joint statement that "In South Korea, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases". He added that it's also hard to distinguish between a loss of the sense of smell and a loss of the sense of taste, which patients can sometimes mix up. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. Should these participants show signs of Covid-19, they will be sent a kit so that they can be tested for the disease.

Holbrook said the reports he has seen suggest the sense of smell returns within a couple of weeks, but how long it lasts has yet to be firmly established. Speaking to STATNews, rhinologist Eric Holbrook says this new observation should not be used as a single screening factor, but rather it can be incorporated into broader considerations when evaluating potentially infected patients.

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In South Korea an app developed by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety allows those placed under quarantine to report their symptoms.

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