Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34198303
Link to DOI – 10.1159/000517066
Neuroepidemiology 2021 ; 55(5): 381-386
Olfactory and taste disorders (OTDs) have been reported in COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the mechanisms of which remain unclear. We conducted a detailed analysis of OTDs as part of 2 seroepidemiological investigations of COVID-19 outbreaks.Two retrospective cohort studies were conducted in a high school and primary schools of Northern France following a COVID-19 epidemic in February-March 2020. Students, their relatives, and school staff were included. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were identified using a flow-cytometry-based assay detecting anti-S IgG.Among 2,004 participants (median [IQR] age: 31 [11-43] years), 303 (15.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. OTDs were present in 91 (30.0%) and 92 (30.3%) of them, respectively, and had 85.1 and 78.0% positive predictive values for SARS-CoV-2 infection, respectively. In seropositive participants, OTDs were independently associated with an age above 18 years, female gender, fatigue, and headache.This study confirms the higher frequency of OTDs in females than males and adults than children. Their high predictive value for the diagnosis of COVID-19 suggests that they should be systematically searched for in patients with respiratory symptoms, fever, or headache. The association of OTDs with headache, not previously reported, suggests that they share a common mechanism, which deserves further investigation.