Investigation of The Relationship between Dysgeusia and Candida Colonization on The Tongue in COVID-19 Patients
Yasemin Oz1*, Ali Oz2, Betul Demir1, Hatice Hamarat2, Sevilay Sureyya Ermis2, Ozge Alkan Tali2, Vural Fidan3 and Selma Metintas4
1Department of Microbiology, Eskisehir Osmangazi University Medical Faculty, Eskisehir, Turkey
2Department of Internal Medicine, Eskisehir City Hospital, Eskisehir, Turkey
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Eskisehir City Hospital, Eskisehir, Turkey
4Department of Public Health, Eskisehir Osmangazi University Medical Faculty, Eskisehir, Turkey
Although several hypotheses have been proposed to explain dysgeusia in COVID-19, exact mechanism is still debated. The overgrowth of Candida in oral cavity can cause pain, dysphagia, changes in sense of taste. We aimed to evaluate whether there is a relationship between Candida colonization on dorsum the tongue and dysgeusia occurring COVID-19. A case-control study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital for three months in 2022. The participants were divided into three groups; 1, patients with dysgeusia who have had COVID; 2, patients with no dysgeusia who have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months; 3, control group, healthy volunteers. Scraping samples were collected from dorsum of the tongue of all participants and used for direct microscopic examination and fungal culture. Results were considered “colonization positive” when either direct microscopic examination or fungal culture or both were positive. A total of 201 participants (49 in Group 1, 60 in Group 2, 92 in Group 3) were analyzed regarding oral Candida colonization using direct microscopy and culture-based approaches. Candida colonization was detected in 66 (32.8%) of all participants and 52 Candida species were isolated by mycological culture; the most common species was C. albicans (63.5%). Although the frequency of Candida colonization was higher in patients with dysgeusia and non-albicans Candida species were isolated more frequently in participants with COVID-19, these differences could not be shown statistically (p>0.05). However, the rate of vaccination with mRNA vaccine and the frequency of tooth brushing were significantly lower in group with dysgeusia (p<0.05).