Self-reported loss of smell or taste tracks Covid spread better, says study


Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University stated that tracking the self-reported loss of smell or taste is more effective in analysing community spread than tracking emergency room (ER) visits of those suspected of infection or current government indicators.

Researchers believe loss of smell or taste a ‘highly reliable indicator’ of Covid-19

The researchers gathered data from the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research Survey between April 7 and May 14, 2020, to carry out the study.

The team then compared the peak of self-reported loss of smell and taste to the timing of implementation of lockdown measures in France, Italy, and the UK, three countries where lockdowns were implemented at different times with different stringency.

Covid-19 people lose sense of taste and smell even when there is no other symptom: Study

Unique to invidivudals

The researchers found that self-reported changes in smell and taste were better correlated with the circulation of the virus and hospitalisation in an area than ER consultations for suspicion of Covid-19.

The peak of smell and taste changes appeared four days after the lockdown was implemented as compared to ER consultations. For ER, it came in after 11 days since the beginning of the lockdown.

The researchers also found that the loss of smell and taste is unique and hence are not related to and confused with seasonal allergies.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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