Hypogeusia as the initial presenting symptom of COVID-19

Lauren E Melley, Eli Bress, Erik Polan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which first arose in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has since been declared a pandemic. The clinical sequelae vary from mild, self-limiting upper respiratory infection symptoms to severe respiratory distress, acute cardiopulmonary arrest and death. Otolaryngologists around the globe have reported a significant number of mild or otherwise asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 presenting with olfactory dysfunction. We present a case of COVID-19 resulting in intensive care unit (ICU) admission, presenting with the initial symptom of disrupted taste and flavour perception prior to respiratory involvement. After 4 days in the ICU and 6 days on the general medicine floor, our patient regained a majority of her sense of smell and was discharged with only lingering dysgeusia. In this paper, we review existing literature and the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 in relation to the reported symptoms of hyposmia, hypogeusia and dysgeusia.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBMJ Case Reports
StatePublished - May 13 2020


  • Ageusia
  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Dysgeusia
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Lung
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia
  • Tomography
  • Viral
  • X-Ray Computed


  • Infectious Disease
  • Medicine and Health Sciences

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