NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry on Saturday added sudden loss of smell and taste to the list of Covid-19 symptoms.
The ministry released revised clinical management protocols for Covid-19 and said that infected patients reporting to various Covid-19 treatment facilities have been reporting symptoms like fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, expectoration, myalgia, rhinorrhea, sore throat and diarrhea.
They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia) preceding the onset of respiratory symptoms, it said.
The ministry, quoting data of Integrated Health Information Platform/ Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme portal case investigation forms for Covid-19, said that the details on the signs and symptoms reported (as on June 11) are — fever (27 per cent), cough (21 per cent), sore throat (10 per cent), breathlessness (8 per cent), weakness (7 per cent), running nose (3 per cent) and others 24 per cent.
According to an expert, even though the symptom is not specific to Covid-19 as one may suffer from loss of smell and taste when they have flu or influenza, it could be one of the early signs of the onset of the disease and prompt detection may help in early treatment.
The US’ national public health institute the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had in early May incorporated “a new loss of taste or smell” in the list of Covid-19 symptoms.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research’s revised testing strategy for Covid-19 issued on May 18, all returnees and migrants with symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) are to be tested within seven days of the onset of the trails.
All hospitalised patients who develop ILI symptoms and frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of Covid-19 having such symptoms will also be tested for Covid-19 through the RT-PCR test, it said, adding asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case has to be tested once between day five and 10 of coming in contact.
Symptomatic ILI patients living in coronavirus hotspots or containment zones, all patients of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), symptomatic healthcare workers also are eligible for testing as per the guidelines.
(With agency inputs)