Objectives: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) structure and host tropism have changed over time, and so has the involvement of throat structures. This infodemiological analysis is hence aimed at investigating the evolution of throat symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Methods: We searched Google Trends using the medical search terms "ageusia", "hoarseness", "dysphonia", "pharyngitis" and "laryngitis", setting geographical location to "United States", within the past 5 years. The weekly Google Trends score for these symptoms, which reflects their national Web popularity, was divided in three parts, as "pre-COVID" (July 2017 to February 2020), COVID-19 "pre-Omicron" (March 2020 to November 2021), and COVID-19 "Omicron" (December 2021 to July 2022), and then compared. Results: The volume of searches for ageusia increased in the pre-Omicron period and remained significantly higher also during Omicron prevalence, though a significant decrease (∼30%) occurred with Omicron lineages compared to previous strains. The Google searches for hoarseness and dysphonia were relatively similar between the pre-COVID and pre-Omicron periods, but then significantly increased during Omicron predominance. The Google searches for pharyngitis and laryngitis decreased in the pre-Omicron period, but then considerably increased following Omicron emergence. Omicron endemic spread could be significantly and independently predicted by the volume of searches for pharyngitis, laryngitis and hoarseness. Conclusions: The epidemiological burden of throat symptoms has considerably changed after Omicron emergence, with a lower likelihood of developing chemosensory dysfunctions and enhanced risk of throat involvement.

Evolution of throat symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US

Nocini, Riccardo;Mattiuzzi, Camilla;Lippi, Giuseppe
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Objectives: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) structure and host tropism have changed over time, and so has the involvement of throat structures. This infodemiological analysis is hence aimed at investigating the evolution of throat symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Methods: We searched Google Trends using the medical search terms "ageusia", "hoarseness", "dysphonia", "pharyngitis" and "laryngitis", setting geographical location to "United States", within the past 5 years. The weekly Google Trends score for these symptoms, which reflects their national Web popularity, was divided in three parts, as "pre-COVID" (July 2017 to February 2020), COVID-19 "pre-Omicron" (March 2020 to November 2021), and COVID-19 "Omicron" (December 2021 to July 2022), and then compared. Results: The volume of searches for ageusia increased in the pre-Omicron period and remained significantly higher also during Omicron prevalence, though a significant decrease (∼30%) occurred with Omicron lineages compared to previous strains. The Google searches for hoarseness and dysphonia were relatively similar between the pre-COVID and pre-Omicron periods, but then significantly increased during Omicron predominance. The Google searches for pharyngitis and laryngitis decreased in the pre-Omicron period, but then considerably increased following Omicron emergence. Omicron endemic spread could be significantly and independently predicted by the volume of searches for pharyngitis, laryngitis and hoarseness. Conclusions: The epidemiological burden of throat symptoms has considerably changed after Omicron emergence, with a lower likelihood of developing chemosensory dysfunctions and enhanced risk of throat involvement.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1072706
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