Scientists say cases are being missed because the list of symptoms we’re told to be alert for is incomplete
Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, says that thousands of cases of coronavirus infection could have been missed because the UK is not working with a complete list of potential symptoms.
The leader of the team developing the Covid Symptom Tracker app said that they had identified around 14 symptoms associated with having a positive test.
He claims that from 50,000 to 70,000 cases could have been missed by overlooking symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain and loss of taste or smell (anosmia), which some other countries include as indicators of coronavirus infection.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers have now added anosmia to the list of possible symptoms.
New Yorker Nadia Ackerman, 45, listed 14 symptoms she suffered after being diagnosed positive for coronavirus in March. They include:
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Excess sleeping
She said in the Daily Mail: “A big thing with the virus is that it seems to turn up and make you sick, and then trick you into thinking that it’s over before it comes back for an even worse second round.”
There’s also been speculation that one of the reasons men seem to be more prone to coronavirus than women is that the testicles act as a reservoir for the virus. There have not been widespread reports of testicular symptoms, though it’s known that the related coronavirus SARS can cause orchitis, or swollen testicles, and a report in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine related one case in which a patient with testicular pain proved to have contracted coronavirus.
A report on open platform MedRxiv suggests that the COVID-19 virus attaches itself to the enzyme ACE2, which is found in cells in the testicles – but so far the evidence hasn’t been medically tested.
So while the main symptoms of coronavirus infection remain a new, persistent cough or high temperature, perhaps we should be looking out for sore testicles as well as the whole list of 14.