Chemosensory Dysfunctions Induced by COVID-19 Can Persist up to 7 Months: A Study of Over 700 Healthcare Workers.

TitleChemosensory Dysfunctions Induced by COVID-19 Can Persist up to 7 Months: A Study of Over 700 Healthcare Workers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBussière, N, Mei, J, Lévesque-Boissonneault, C, Blais, M, Carazo, S, Gros-Louis, F, De Serres, G, Dupré, N, Frasnelli, J
JournalChem Senses
Volume46
Date Published2021 01 01
ISSN1464-3553
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, COVID-19, Health Personnel, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Olfaction Disorders, Prevalence, Self Report, Surveys and Questionnaires, Taste Disorders, Time Factors
Abstract

Several studies have revealed either self-reported chemosensory alterations in large groups or objective quantified chemosensory impairments in smaller populations of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. However, due to the great variability in published results regarding COVID-19-induced chemosensory impairments and their follow-up, prognosis for chemosensory functions in patients with such complaints remains unclear. Our objective is to describe the various chemosensory alterations associated with COVID-19 and their prevalence and evolution after infection. A cross-sectional study of 704 healthcare workers with a RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection between 2020 February 28 and 2020 June 14 was conducted 3-7 months after onset of symptoms. Data were collected with an online questionnaire. Outcomes included differences in reported chemosensory self-assessment of olfactory, gustatory, and trigeminal functions across time points and Chemosensory Perception Test scores from an easy-to-use at-home self-administered chemosensory test. Among the 704 participants, 593 (84.2%) were women, the mean (SD) age was 42 (12) years, and the questionnaire was answered on average 4.8 (0.8) months after COVID-19. During COVID-19, a decrease in olfactory, gustatory, and trigeminal sensitivities was reported by 81.3%, 81.5%, and 48.0%, respectively. Three to 7 months later, reduced sensitivity was still reported by 52.0%, 41.9%, and 23.3%, respectively. Chemosensory Perception Test scores indicate that 19.5% of participants had objective olfactory impairment. These data suggest a significant proportion of COVID-19 cases have persistent chemosensory impairments at 3-7 months after their infection, but the majority of those who had completely lost their olfactory, gustatory, and trigeminal sensitivities have improved.

DOI10.1093/chemse/bjab038
Alternate JournalChem Senses
PubMed ID34423831
PubMed Central IDPMC8499810
Grant List2 #283144 / / Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé /