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Association of Anosmia and Positive SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RT-PCR Test Results Among Patients in the Quezon City General Hospital.


Jeff James P. Alega,
Emmanuel Tadeus S. Cruz

Related Institution

1Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, - Quezon City General Hospital, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Publication Information

Publication Type
Sub Type
Journal Article, Original
Philippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Date of Publication
January-June 2021



Objective: To determine the association of anosmia and positive SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RT-PCR test results among patients in a tertiary government hospital in Metro Manila.


Design: Cross-Sectional

Study Setting: Tertiary Government Training Hospital

Participants: Patients aged 18 years old and above who consulted or were admitted with COVID-19 symptoms at the Quezon City General Hospital in the Philippines from July to September 2020 answered an offline version of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery AAO-HNS COVID-19 Anosmia Reporting Tool prior to undergoing (COVID-19) RT-PCR testing.

Results: Out of 172 participants, 63 (36.6%) presented with anosmia. Sixty (95.2%) out of 63 of those with anosmia had a positive COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. Forty-one (65%) participants reported anosmia as the first symptom while the most common associated symptoms were fever (59%), cough (50%), and rhinorrhea (31%). There was a significant association between anosmia and positive SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RT-PCR tests (X2 =33.85, df=1, p<.0001). A significantly higher proportion of patients with anosmia were positive for COVID-19 than those without anosmia at 95.2% and 52.3% respectively. The risk for COVID-19 among patients with anosmia was almost two times higher than those without anosmia (RR=1.82; 95%CI:1.51 - 2.20; p<.0001).

Conclusion: Anosmia was associated with a positive SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RT-PCR test in more than 95% of those who reported the symptom. Anosmia should be considered as a red flag sign which should be included in the screening of persons suspected of being infected with COVID-19 to help mitigate further spread of the virus.

Keywords: anosmia; olfactory dysfunction; loss of sense of smell; coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; pandemic; 2019-NCoV; COVID-19


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