Study population and setting
Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on March 19, 2020 to the Infectious Disease department of L. Sacco Hospital in Milan, Italy. 59/88 of patients responded to a verbal questionnaire. There were 23 non-respondents due to non-invasive ventilation. 68% of patients were male with a median age of 60.
Summary of Main Findings
Twenty patients (34%) reported either a taste or an olfactory disorder. Eleven (19%) reported both. Of those reporting a taste/olfactory disorder, 12 (60%) experienced these symptoms before hospital admission. All patients’ symptoms were persistent at time of interview.
First study to measure prevalence of this relatively minor symptom that may arise early in disease course.
This was a small, nonrandom sample of hospitalized patients that for practical reasons could not include patients with the most severe disease. The questionnaire was ad hoc and did not include validated instruments. By the nature of the case series, those with milder and asymptomatic infection are not included.
This is the first published study to measure the prevalence of the loss of taste (dysgeusia) and the loss of smell (anosmia) in COVID-19.