Institutional evaluation of anosmia and ageusia in COVID-19 positive health care workers of clinical and non-clinical departments

Shruti Jha, Rakesh Kumar Singh, Sanjay Kumar, Tullika Singh


Background: Health Care Workers (HCW’s) are disproportionately at high risk to acquire COVID-19, through their close and extended contact in outpatient, inpatient departments, and operation theatres. This study aims to compare anosmia and ageusia in COVID-19 positive health workers in clinical and non-clinical categories who tested positive for COVID-19.

Methods: A retrospective Institutional study was performed on 106 HCW’s of clinical and non-clinical departments from July 2020 to February 2021. Cases were HCW’s who tested positive on RTPCR for SARS-CoV-2 and were working at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the basis of symptoms and oxygen support, we made a grading system named COVID-19 proposed grading system based on symptom and supplementary oxygen requirement to simplify the patient category and treatment plan. The Subjective Self-assessment olfactory and gustatory functions of each individual were collected telephonically including time of onset, severity, duration, and time of improvement.

Results: Out of 106 positive individuals, 68 were males and 38 were females. Forty-five out of the 106 HCW’s had anosmia and ageusia as initial symptoms. The prevalence of anosmia and ageusia was 42.4% in the COVID-19 positive HCW’s. The affected HCW’s were also enquired about the department they worked in to explore the relationship between viral load exposure and the development of anosmia and ageusia as symptoms. 61.3% of HCW’s working in clinical departments had anosmia and ageusia as symptoms as compared to 38.7% in non-clinical departments.

Conclusions: The prevalence of anosmia and ageusia was higher in HCW’s affected with SARS-CoV-2 placed in the clinical department than in the non-clinical department. It also emphasizes that the patient-to healthcare transmission is the major factor, then the transmission of viruses in HCW by other means. Hence, the modified strategies must be made to protect the HCW’s in view of their maximum utilization to manage the COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 patients.


COVID-19, Anosmia, Ageusia, Health care workers

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