Comparative Study of Chemosensory Dysfunction in COVID-19 in 2 Geographically Distinct Regions

Daniel J. Lee, Daniella Daliyot, Ri Wang, Joel Lockwood, Paul Das, Eyal Zimlichman, John M. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To directly compare the prevalence of chemosensory dysfunction (smell and taste) in geographically distinct regions with the same questionnaires. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed to evaluate the self-reported symptoms among adults (older than 18 years) who underwent COVID-19 testing at an ambulatory assessment center in Canada and at a hospital in Israel between March 16, 2020, and August 19, 2020. The primary outcome was the prevalence of self-reported chemosensory dysfunction (anosmia/hypomsia and dysgeusia/ageusia). Subgroup analysis was performed to evaluate the prevalence of chemosensory deficits among the outpatients. Results: We identified a total of 350 COVID-19–positive patients (138 Canadians and 212 Israelis). The overall prevalence of chemosensory dysfunction was 47.1%. There was a higher proportion of chemosensory deficits among Canadians compared to Israelis (66.7% vs 34.4%, P <.01). A subgroup analysis for outpatients (never hospitalized) still identified a higher prevalence of chemosensory dysfunction among Canadians compared to Israelis (68.2% vs 36.1%, P < 0.01). A majority of patients recovered their sense of smell after 4 weeks of symptom onset. Conclusion: Although the prevalence of chemosensory deficit in COVID-19 was found to be similar to previously published reports, the prevalence can vary significantly across different geographical regions. Therefore, it is important to obtain regionally specific data so that the symptom of anosmia/dysgeusia can be used as a guide for screening for the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The Dunin Foundation.

FundersFunder number
Dunin Foundation


    • COVID-19
    • anosmia
    • dysgeusia
    • epidemiology
    • population health


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