We all know to watch out for a high fever or dry cough as telltale signs of coronavirus, but new research suggests many younger patients are reporting a completely different symptom.
Anosmia, meaning the loss of smell or taste, is now believed to be a "hidden carrier" of Covid-19 – even among people with no other symptoms.
The British Rhinological Society Profession and the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology partnered up to look into coronavirus cases overseas.
Approximately a third of patients who have tested positive in South Korea, China and Italy reported experiencing a loss of smell.
"In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," the associations said in a joint statement.
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"There have 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.
"Iran has reported a sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, and many colleagues from the US, France and Northern Italy have the same experience."
Younger patients in particular seem more prone to anosmia without experiencing the more commonly known symptoms of a fever and cough.
"In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose," Professor Nirmal Kumar, president of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, told Sky News.
The researchers have called for anyone experiencing a sudden loss of smell or taste to self-isolate in order to stop the transmission of the virus.
Coronavirus seems to present with a wide range of symptoms and severity, with some patients barely feeling ill at all to others requiring urgent hospitalisation.
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