The loss of sense of smell and taste can last up to five months after infection by Covid-19, according to a preliminary study released Monday. The final results of the work will be presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
Johannes Frasnelli, from the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (Canada) and one of the authors of this study, recalls that, although Covid-19 is a new disease, previous research had already found that many of the infected people lose their sense of smell and taste in the early stages of it.
As the scientist explains in a press release from the American Academy of Neurology, the objective of this new work has been to go further and observe how long this loss of smell and taste persists, and how serious is it.
813 healthcare workers participated in the study
To do this, 813 health workers who tested positive for Covid-19 participated in the research; each person completed a questionnaire and then took a home test to assess their sense of taste and smell on average five months after diagnosis.
The patients they rated their senses of taste and smell were on a scale of 0 to 10: 0 meant they had no sense and 10 meant a strong sense of taste or smell.
A total of 580 people lost their sense of smell during the initial illness. Of this group, 297 participants (51%) said that they had not yet regained their sense of smell Five months later. On average, people rated their sense of smell 7 out of 10 after illness, compared to 9 out of 10 before getting sick.
A total of 527 participants lost their sense of taste during the initial illness; of this group, 200 people (38%) assured that they had not yet recovered the sense of taste five months later. On average, people rated their sense of taste 8 out of 10 after illness, compared to 9 out of 10 before becoming ill.
The scope of the problem, to be discovered
“Our results show that a sense of smell and taste deteriorated it can persist in a number of people with Covid-19 “, details Frasnelli.
For this researcher, this underscores the importance of monitoring infected people and the need for further research to discover the extent of the problems neurological disorders associated with the disease.
Researchers recognize some limitations of this study, including the subjective nature of odor and taste ratings.