Dr. Sanjeet Rangarajan Weighs in on New Symptoms pertaining to COVID-19

Posted on March 25, 2020

Reports are emerging that new onset anosmia, or an acute loss of the sense of smell, may be an early symptom of infection with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 2020 NBA All-Star Rudy Gobert, along with numerous other patients in Italy, China, and South Korea, reported a sudden, unexplained loss of smell and taste in the days leading up to their diagnosis. What is normally a rare diagnostic finding, may end up serving as a harbinger for infection. 

“Our nose and sense of smell are integral to how we interact with the world around us. These organs help us enjoy the scent of fresh cookies or detect the danger of a nearby fire. Losing this ability is normally troublesome, but patients experiencing acute anosmia in the setting of this pandemic may also need to be screened for the novel coronavirus” states Dr. Sanjeet Rangarajan, a rhinologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) who specializes in disorders of the sinuses and nasal cavity. The Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery has proposed that anosmia is added to the list of screening tools for COVID-19 infection, and that individuals experiencing a loss in their sense of smell should remain vigilant for other symptoms specified by the CDC and speak with their physician. “Our understanding of this virus is evolving, but promoting awareness of this possible early symptom could prevent further spread of the virus before carriers unknowingly infect others.”