Over 1.6 million Americans are still without a sense of smell months after battling COVID-19, according to a new study.
The lingering loss of smell, known as anosmia, has lasted for at least six months after the initial coronavirus infection in those 1.6 million people, tech/science website Gizmodo reported, citing a study published Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
“In the last couple of months, my colleagues and I noted a dramatic increase in the number of patients seeking medical attention for olfactory dysfunction,” Jay Piccirillo, an otolaryngologist at Washington University in St. Louis and an editor at JAMA, told Gizmodo.
Piccirillo said recovering from coronavirus-induced anosmia depends on the infection.
“Most cases (90%) of viral associated with anosmia resolve within two weeks — including COVID,” Piccirillo said, Gizmodo reported. “The prognosis for long-term olfactory dysfunction (six months) is not good. Less than 20% can expect to recover smell after 6 months.”
He said about 5% of all anosmia cases will lose some or all of their sense of smell permanently.