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COVID-19 Tied to Unique Nasal Symptoms

Sudden loss of one's sense of smell appears to be a telltale sign of COVID-19

sneezing into tissue

TUESDAY, April 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 is not associated with the symptoms typically associated with a viral cold or allergies, such as nasal blockage or mucus production, according to a review published online April 10 in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology.

Isabelle Gengler, M.D., from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating sinonasal pathophysiology in COVID-19.

Based on 19 studies, the researchers found that the sinonasal cavity may be a major site of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), where susceptibility genes required for infection are expressed at high levels and may be modulated by environmental and host factors. The nose is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding, reflecting a major source for transmission. There were multiple reports of health care-associated infection during rhinologic procedures, subsequently considered to be high risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission to health care workers. Rhinorrhea and congestion appear to be rarer symptoms of COVID-19, while anosmia without nasal obstruction is a highly specific predictor of COVID-19-positive patients.

"If someone experiences anosmia without nasal obstruction, aside from quarantining, it would not be unreasonable to reach out to one's primary care physician about getting tested," a coauthor said in a statement.

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