He tested positive on March 14. Yesterday, on a TV link, the Deputy Minister of Health Pierpaolo Sileri revealed that he had lost his sense of smell and taste due to the coronavirus. A common effect or a sporadic case?
One possible answer comes from the work of UK rhinologists, the experts who study diseases of the nose. The symptom is not uncommon, and is sometimes not reversible. Indeed, according to the evidence gathered by the experts, anyone who suffers a sudden loss of smell could be a "hidden carrier" of the coronavirus, even if they have no other symptoms.
In South Korea, China and Italy, about one third of patients tested positive for the coronavirus test COVID-19: they also reported a loss of smell (known as anosmia or hyposmia).
"In South Korea, where tests have been more widespread, 30% of patients who tested positive had anosmia as the main presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases". That's what it is they reported in a joint note Clare Hopkins e Nirmal kumar, respectively president of the British Rhinological Society and the English Otolaryngology Association.
According to the data collected, many COVID-19 positive patients worldwide present with only the symptoms of loss of smell and taste, without the more commonly recognized symptoms of high fever and cough.
"There has been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms", the note states. "Iran has reported a sudden increase in isolated anosmia cases and many colleagues in the US, France and Northern Italy have the same experience."
The lack of other recognized symptoms in these cases can make it unlikely that sufferers will be tested and isolated. Which means they could contribute to the rapid spread of the disease around the world.
“These patients may be some of the hitherto hidden carriers that have facilitated the rapid spread of the coronavirus“, They added.
Younger people may not have common coronavirus symptoms
Professor Kumar he told Sky News that younger patients in particular may only demonstrate a loss of smell or taste, without demonstrating the more commonly recognized coronavirus symptoms.
"In young patients there are no significant symptoms such as cough and fever, but there may only be loss of the sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are deposited in the nose," he said.