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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Acute loss of smell and taste among patients with symptoms compatible with COVID-19

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INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to describe the clinical symptoms, including affection of sense of smell and taste, among participants in a party held in Copenhagen after which many participants reported symptoms compatible with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

METHODS: A 37-item questionnaire was sent electronically to all 95 participants seven weeks after the party. The questionnaire included questions about the type, timing and duration of COVID-19 symptoms.

RESULTS: In total, 65 of 95 (68%) participants responded, among whom 51/65 (78%) had symptoms compatible with COVID-19; 53% (27/51) had affection of their sense of smell and taste; 70% (19/27) reported a total loss of taste. These symptoms continued for 1-3 weeks for 78% and 3-6 weeks for 22% (6/27). Interestingly, 11/27 (41%) reported that they had not fully regained their sense of taste and 3/27(11%) were still very affected by this symptom. Moreover, 44% of the respondents who had lost their sense of taste perceived this symptom as moderate to severe. Eighty-one percent (22/27) reported a total loss of smell. This symptom continued for 1-3 and > 3 weeks in 74% and 26%, respectively. At the time of the investigation, 48% had not fully regained their sense of smell and 7% were still very affected. More than half of the respondents who lost their sense of smell perceived this symptom as moderate to severe.

CONCLUSIONS: Many patients with clinically diagnosed COVID-19 report an affected sense of smell and taste. The duration of these symptoms currently remains unknown.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: not relevant.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume67
Issue number9
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • Betacoronavirus, COVID-19, Coronavirus Infections/complications, Denmark/epidemiology, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Olfaction Disorders/diagnosis, Pandemics, Pneumonia, Viral/complications, SARS-CoV-2, Smell/physiology, Surveys and Questionnaires, Taste/physiology

ID: 62369736