Paderno A, Schreiber A, Grammatica A, Raffetti E, Tomasoni M, Gualtieri T, Taboni S, Zorzi S, Lombardi D, Deganello A, Redaelli De Zinis LO, Maroldi R, Mattavelli D
Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 10 (8) 955-962 [2020-08-00; online 2020-06-25]
Olfactory (OD) and gustatory (GD) dysfunction have been proven to be a typical symptom of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. However, their prevalence in different patient populations still needs to be clarified. A cross-sectional study was performed from March 27 to April 1, 2020, in Northern Italy. Physicians administered a survey-based questionnaire to SARS-CoV-2-positive patients with the aim of assessing symptoms, focusing on OD and GD. Two groups were studied: group A, patients hospitalized at Azianda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale (ASST) Spedali Civili University Hospital of Brescia; and group B, home-quarantined subjects. A total of 508 patients were enrolled: 295 in group A and 213 in group B. Mean age ± standard deviation (SD) was 55 ± 15 years; 56% were men. Overall, OD and GD were present in 56% (95% confidence interval [CI], 51% to 60%) and 63% (95% CI, 59% to 67%) of cases, respectively. In group A, the prevalence of OD and GD was 44% (95% CI, 38% to 50%) and 52% (95% CI, 46% to 58%), respectively. In group B, the prevalence of OD and GD was 72% (95% CI, 65% to 79%) and 79% (95% CI, 73% to 84%), respectively. In the entire cohort, total loss of olfaction and taste was reported in 64% and 60% of cases, respectively. OD and GD occurred as the first symptom in 10% and 11% of cases, respectively; in the remaining cases, they occurred after a mean of 4 ± 3 days following the first symptom. At the time of the questionnaire, complete resolution of OD and GD was reported in 52% and 55% of cases, respectively (mean duration, 9 ± 5 days in both). OD and GD are more prevalent in home-quarantined subjects, and they are independently associated with younger age and female gender.