MIAMI (CBSMiami) — There’s growing concern among health officials about so called silent spreaders, people who are infected with the coronavirus, but aren’t sick. Now some UK doctors say there may be a clue to who’s carrying it and they want the loss of smell and taste added to the list of symptoms.
No one knows the symptoms of coronavirus better than those who are living with it. Like 39-year-old Tara Langston who is in intensive care in London.
“Please none of you take any chances – I mean it,” said Tara.
While people have been asked to watch for a fever, cough and body ache, doctors in the UK says there is something else to look out for.
“Many of us across the globe in areas with rising rate of COVID-19 are seeing a big spike in patients who are otherwise completely fit and well, often under 40, presenting with relatively sudden onset and complete loss of smell and taste,” said Professor Claire Hopkins, an ear, nose and throat specialist and president of the British Rhinological Society.
Hopkins told CBS News that people with a recent loss of smell should isolate themselves and consider it a potential sign of coronavirus infection, just like a cough or fever.
Hopkins says ear nose and throat doctors worldwide have reported more patients with the condition over the last few weeks.
Doctors caution these symptoms can be common with other viruses too, and in the majority of cases, both senses should come back on their own.
Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player confirmed to have COVID-19 and he tweeted he hadn’t been able to smell anything for 4 days.
A British health minister who also tested positive says she lost 100 percent of her taste and smell.
Doctors hope these possible clues to help diagnose COVID-19 will encourage more people to self-isolate.
“I do believe it has the potential to make a difference,” said Hopkins.
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Health experts hope this new marker will help slow the spread.
The doctors also hope this can act as a warning to healthcare workers, to make sure they use full protective equipment when treating patients who’ve lost their sense of smell and taste.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most commoninclude fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients also report like diarrhea.