Strange new virus symptom identified
Fevers, a dry cough, headaches and shortness of breath are among the symptoms the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised as being associated with COVID-19.
A new study from Spanish researchers, however, suggests there could be another sign of the potentially-deadly virus, after finding rash-like lesions inside the mouths of coronavirus-infected patients.
Published in JAMA Dermatology, the research notes that enanthems, a rash inside the body on the mucous membrane, were observed in four female and two male patients with COVID-19 - aged between 40 and 69 - out of a survey of 21.
"This work describes preliminary observations and is limited by the small number of cases and the absence of a control group," researchers from Madrid's Ramon y Cajal University Hospital wrote.
"Despite the increasing reports of skin rashes in patients with COVID-19, establishing an etiological diagnosis is challenging. However, the presence of enathem is a strong clue that suggests a viral etiology rather than a drug reaction, especially when a petechial pattern is observed."
Due to safety concerns over COVID-19 infections, the researchers noted that many patients suspected or known to have the virus don't have their mouths examined by doctors. Given the fact that patients also often wear masks, it's possible more than just the six infected people observed in the study could have the lesions.
The researchers found that the appearance of the lesions, which fall under four different categories, occurred anywhere between two and 24 days after the onset of more commonly-recognised COVID-19 symptoms.
It follows a separate group of Spanish scientists in April linking lesions on feet to coronavirus, and joins an ever-expanding list of symptoms that could be associated with the disease - which has infected more than 14.6 million people around the world and upwards of 264,800 in Spain alone.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the end of June that, "by definition, a new virus means that we're learning as we go".
"We have learned a lot, but there's still a lot we don't know," Dr Ghebreysus told reporters during a press conference.
Dr Ghebreyesus said communicating complex science in real time about a new virus is not alway easy, "but we believe it's part of our duty to the world. And we can always do better".
Originally published as Strange new virus symptom identified