Published: 9 September 2022 at 00:01
New research reveals loss of smell or taste particularly prevalent after 12 weeks
New research has revealed the extent of sensory loss among people suffering from long Covid, with around 30% reporting a decreased sense of smell, and a similar number finding their sense of taste continuing to be affected 12 weeks or more after the initial infection. The research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) analysed data from 14 separate studies exploring the prevalence of persistent anosmia (full loss of smell), hyposmia (decreased sense of smell), ageusia (loss of sense of taste), and hypogeusia (reduced sense of taste), as well as vision and hearing-related long Covid symptoms.
Among the 4,702 people with long Covid included within the study, 31.2% reported suffering from reduced sense of taste and 29.9% reported decreased sense of smell at least 12 weeks after first being infected. In addition, 12.2% reported full loss of smell and 11.7% encountered full loss of taste.
Several people reported other symptoms affecting the eyes or ears, such as tinnitus, blurred vision or dry eyes.
Long Covid affects somewhere between 13% and 15% of people who test positive for Covid-19, and is defined as symptoms lasting for longer than 12 weeks post-infection. At the time of the last estimate by the Office of National Statistics, around two million people in the UK were believed to have long Covid.
Senior author Professor Shahina Pardhan, Director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) at ARU, said:
Lead author Dr Mike Trott, Visiting Fellow at ARU, said:
The open access paper can be read here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2022.980253/full