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Prevalence of hyposmia and hypogeusia in 390 COVID-19 hospitalized patients and outpatients: a cross-sectional study

  • Nouchi, Agathe1, 2
  • Chastang, Julie3, 1
  • Miyara, Makoto1
  • Lejeune, Julie1
  • Soares, André3
  • Ibanez, Gladys3, 1
  • Saadoun, David1
  • Morélot-Panzini, Capucine1
  • Similowski, Thomas1
  • Amoura, Zahir4
  • Boddaert, Jacques1, 1, 5
  • Caumes, Eric1, 2, 1
  • Bleibtreu, Alexandre1, 2
  • Lorenzo, Alain3
  • Tubach, Florence1
  • Pourcher, Valérie1, 2, 1
  • 1 Sorbonne Université, site Pitié-Salpêtrière,
  • 2 Département des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire APHP, Sorbonne Université, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France
  • 3 Sorbonne Université,
  • 4 Sorbonne-Université, site Pitié-Salpêtrière,
  • 5 Service de Gériatrie, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire APHP, Sorbonne Université, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France
Published Article
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Publication Date
Oct 08, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s10096-020-04056-7
PMID: 33033955
PMCID: PMC7543958
PubMed Central
  • Original Article


Anecdotal evidence rapidly accumulated during March 2020 from sites around the world that sudden hyposmia and hypogeusia are significant symptoms associated with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Our objective was to describe the prevalence of hyposmia and hypogeusia and compare it in hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients to evaluate an association of these symptoms with disease severity. We performed a cross-sectional survey during 5 consecutive days in March 2020, within a tertiary referral center, associated outpatient clinic, and two primary care outpatient facilities in Paris. All SARS-CoV-2-positive patients hospitalized during the study period and able to be interviewed ( n = 198), hospital outpatients seen during the previous month ( n = 129), and all COVID-19-highly suspect patients in two primary health centers ( n = 63) were included. Hospitalized patients were significantly more often male (64 vs 40%) and older (66 vs 43 years old in median) and had significantly more comorbidities than outpatients. Hyposmia and hypogeusia were reported by 33% of patients and occurred significantly less frequently in hospitalized patients (12% and 13%, respectively) than in the health centers’ outpatients (33% and 43%, respectively) and in the hospital outpatients (65% and 60%, respectively). Hyposmia and hypogeusia appeared more frequently after other COVID-19 symptoms. Patients with hyposmia and/or hypogeusia were significantly younger and had significantly less respiratory severity criteria than patients without these symptoms. Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction occurs frequently in COVID-19, especially in young, non-severe patients. These symptoms might be a useful tool for initial diagnostic work-up in patients with suspected COVID-19.

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