Loss of smell, taste, might signal pandemic virus infection

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NEW YORK (AP) - Doctors are reporting that people infected with the pandemic virus may lose their sense of smell and perhaps taste.

FILE - In this July 11, 2006, file photo, a display of spices lends color to a section of the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Doctors are reporting that people infected with the pandemic virus may lose their sense of smell and perhaps taste. Virus infection is already a known cause of smell loss, and in some cases it can be permanent. But in cases of the pandemic virus, it looks more like a temporary effect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The World Health Organization is looking into it, but some experts are already saying that changes in taste and smell might be a useful tool to screen people for infection. They cite reports from South Korea, China and Italy.

Virus infection is already a known cause of smell loss, and in some cases it can be permanent. But in cases of the pandemic virus, it looks more like a temporary effect.