CMI highlight: Onset, duration and unresolved symptoms, including smell and taste changes, in mild COVID-19 infections. A cohort study in Israeli patients
The present study aimed at characterizing longitudinal symptoms of mild COVID-19 patients for a period of six months, and potentially aid in disease management.
Phone interviews were conducted with 103 mild COVID-19 patients in Israel, over a six-month period (April 2020 to October 2020). Inclusion criteria required participants to be Israeli residents aged ≥18 years, with positive COVID-19 RT-PCR results and non-severe symptoms. Symptoms' onset, duration, severity, and resolution were analysed.
Most common first symptoms experienced were headache, fever, muscle ache, or dry cough. Smell and taste changes were experienced after around 4 days after disease onset. Among prevalent symptoms, fever had the shortest duration, and taste and smell changes were the longest-lasting symptoms. Longer recovery of the sense of smell correlated with the extent of smell change. Long-lasting effects of mild COVID-19 manifested in almost half of the participants reporting at least one unresolved symptom after six months. At the six-month follow-up, in fact 46% of the patients had at least one unresolved symptom, most commonly fatigue, smell and taste changes and breathing difficulties.