SARS-CoV-2 and the nose Risks and implications for primary care

Raewyn G. Campbell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background General practitioners (GPs) have some of the highest rates of mortality from COVID-19 among healthcare workers. SARS-CoV-2 has unique properties that place GPs at particular risk. Objective The aim of this article is to discuss the nose-related features of SARS-CoV-2 that place GPs at risk, and to make recommendations pertinent to the safety and protection of primary healthcare physicians. Discussion The highest viral load of SARS-CoV-2 is in the nose and nasopharynx. It is often highest early in the illness, before the development of symptoms. Further, SARS-CoV-2 replicates and continues to shed in the nasopharynx long after the virus is no longer detectable in the lower respiratory tract. This places any physician performing examinations on, or procedures involving, the upper respiratory tract at risk for contracting COVID-19. New-onset hyposmia and dysgeusia are indicators for COVID-19 and should be included in screening protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-732
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of General Practice
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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