Olfactory Bulb Edema in a Patient with Loss of Smell due to COVID-19 infection

Loss of smell (anosmia) and loss of taste (dysgeusia) have been commonly noted in people with COVID-19 infection, including those without any other symptoms such as fever, cough or breathing difficulty.

In a recent case, anosmia developed on day 7 of infection. MRI showed edema (swelling) and increased signal of olfactory bulbs and tracts. Patient recovered on day 24 and the repeat MRI showed normal findings.


1. Loss of smell and taste can occur in patients with COVID-19 infection, even in the absence of other symptoms.
2. Loss of smell is reversible and patients usually recover their sense of smell and taste within 4 weeks.
3. The underlying basis of anosmia seems to be involvement of olfactory nervous system (olfactory bulbs and tracts by the virus through trans-nasal spread.

(Source: Neurology, May 22, 2020)

Published by Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine) DM (Neurology)

I am a doctor with 25 years experience. I have worked as a neurologist for about 20 years. Educating public and healthcare professionals is very dear to me. This is possible due to my interactions with thousands of patients and their caregivers. I salute the patients who suffer and it is our duty to minimise suffering by preventing diseases and ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment of those already affected.

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