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Spinato G, Fabbris C, Polesel J, et al. Alterations in Smell or Taste in Mildly Symptomatic Outpatients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection. JAMA. 2020;323(20):2089–2090. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6771
Since December 2019, a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread globally.1 A spectrum of disease severity has been reported, with main symptoms that include fever, fatigue, dry cough, myalgia, and dyspnea. Previous strains of coronavirus have been demonstrated to invade the central nervous system through the olfactory neuroepithelium and propagate from within the olfactory bulb.2 Furthermore, nasal epithelial cells display the highest expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, in the respiratory tree.3
Despite anecdotal reports of anosmia, only 1 study to our knowledge has evaluated the prevalence of smell and taste disturbance in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, reporting an overall prevalence of 34% but without data on timing of onset in relation to other symptoms.4
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