Hospitals are now reportedly treating a loss of smell and taste as symptoms of coronavirus after experts warned of the tell-tale signs.
Younger patients are especially likely to lose these senses, even if they do not experience any other symptoms.
Scientists now believe losing your smell or taste — a condition known as anosmia — could be a sign that you are a "hidden carrier" for Covid-19.
ITV News correspondent Paul Brand claims: "Have learned that some hospitals are now adding loss of taste and smell to the list of symptoms for coronavirus, as they triage patients.
"Some concern among doctors that these particular symptoms have been underplayed in all the messaging so far."
Professor Nirmal Kumar, head of ENT UK, has urged people to self-isolate if they have this symptom.
He told Sky News: "In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose."
In a statement, ENT UK said: “There is already good evidence from South Korea, China and Italy that significant numbers of patients with proven Covid-19 infection have developed anosmia/hyposmia (loss of sense of smell).
“There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms – this has been widely shared on medical discussion boards by surgeons from all regions managing a high incidence of cases.”
The British Rhinological Society Profession and the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology both say there appears to be a link.
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Approximately a third of patients who have tested positive in South Korea, China and Italy reported experiencing a loss of smell, they said in a joint statement.
The statement read: "In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," the associations said in a joint statement.
"There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms.
"Iran has reported a sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, and many colleagues from the US, France and Northern Italy have the same experience."
The Department of Health and Social Care says people should self-isolate if they have a consistent cough or a fever.
The NHS website does not currently list losing smell and taste as a reason to avoid going out.
Daily Star Online has approached Public Health England for comment.
The UK death toll from coronavirus currently stands at 1,228.
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