Social media report on damage of olfactory nerve through deep nasal swab is fake news

The Anti-Fake News Centre of Thailand has refuted as a fake news a social media report claiming that taking a deep nasal swab, for COVID-19 testing for example, can damage the olfactory nerve.

According to the fake report, damage to the olfactory nerve can affect health and life span, because the olfactory nerve is one of two paths through the skull, which connects the nasal passage and the brain, through which viruses and bacteria can cross the blood-brain barrier.

The centre said that the Medical Services Department has carefully checked the report and found that a deep nasal swab may touch the sensory nerve in the nose, but will not damage it.

There has also been no evidence to suggest that a deep swab will cause a person to lose their sense of smell.

According to the department, the current way of taking a deep swab is to insert the swab stick along the nasal passage into the nasopharynx, where the virus concentrates.

There is, however, one caution for those who used to have had surgery on the base of the brain. In these cases the nasal swab procedure should be administered by an ear, nose and throat specialist.

The Anti-Fake News Centre was set up by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to cope with the spread of fake news on the Internet and in social media and to provide correct and verified information to the public, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when misleading information has proliferated.


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