Health Care

UK Chief Medical Officers confirm anosmia as symptom of coronavirus

UK Chief Medical Officers confirm anosmia as symptom of coronavirus”

Medical chiefs today added a new loss of smell or taste as a third official symptom for detecting coronavirus.

Downing Street said the UK's chief medical officers were continually reviewing symptoms of the virus based on advice from experts.

"They now consider anosmia, a loss in your sense of smell or taste, as a symptom".

The advice states: Individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or - as of today - a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists 13 different symptoms and rank loss of taste or smell among the less common.

"Other types of smell dysfunction include hyposmia which is the partial loss of the sense of smell, parosmia which is when the perception of smells become distorted, so pleasant smells start to seem unpleasant, or an odour appears to change intensity and phantosmia which is when a person believes that they can smell something, but it is not actually there".

Government advisers on new viruses at the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), have been monitoring anosmia and other potential symptoms, since March.

Lead researcher Prof Tim Spector said: "We list about 14 symptoms which we know are related to having a positive swab test".

Loss of sense of smell is now considered a symptom of coronavirus in the UK.

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"These are not being picked up by the NHS".

Spector reiterated that between 50,000 to 70,000 people in the United Kingdom who are infected with COVID-19 were not told to self-isolate since their symptoms did not match the official list.

"This country is missing the ball in underestimated cases, but also putting people at risk and continuing the epidemic", he said.

So, the point about anosmia is it doesn't always come as the first symptom.

They also urged the public not to try to self-diagnose COVID-19 based on skin symptoms, because rashes and lesions are common and hard to differentiate without medical expertise.

"We have seen some signalling in some of the literature that anosmia may be more frequent in females", he added.

Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street on Friday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said his loss of taste had not been permanent.

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