Introduction: COVID-19-related anosmia is a remarkable and disease-specific finding. With this multicenter cohort study, we aimed to determine the prevalence of anosmia in pediatric cases with COVID-19 from Turkey and make an objective assessment with a smell awareness questionnaire.
Material and methods: This multicenter prospective cohort study was conducted with pediatric infection clinics in 37 centers in 19 different cities of Turkey between October 2020 and March 2021. The symptoms of 10.157 COVID-19 cases 10-18 years old were examined. Age, gender, other accompanying symptoms, and clinical severity of the disease of cases with anosmia and ageusia included in the study were recorded. The cases were interviewed for the smell awareness questionnaire at admission and one month after the illness.
Results: Anosmia was present in 12.5% (1.266/10.157) of COVID-19 cases 10-18 years of age. The complete records of 1053 patients followed during the study period were analyzed. The most common symptoms accompanying symptoms with anosmia were ageusia in 885 (84%) cases, fatigue in 534 cases (50.7%), and cough in 466 cases (44.3%). Anosmia was recorded as the only symptom in 84 (8%) of the cases. One month later, it was determined that anosmia persisted in 88 (8.4%) cases. In the smell awareness questionnaire, the score at admission was higher than the score one month later (P < 0.001).
Discussion: With this study, we have provided the examination of a large case series across Turkey. Anosmia and ageusia are specific symptoms seen in cases of COVID-19. With the detection of these symptoms, it should be aimed to isolate COVID-19 cases in the early period and reduce the spread of the infection. Such studies are important because the course of COVID-19 in children differs from adults and there is limited data on the prevalence of anosmia.
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