NHS urged to recognise ‘Covid tongue’ as official sign of the disease

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, said he’s seeing an increasing number of infected patients with sores on their tongue and unusual mouth ulcers

The NHS is being urged to recognise ‘Covid tongue’ as an official symptom of coronavirus amid fears it is becoming more widespread. 

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, said he’s seeing an increasing number of infected patients with sores on their tongue, unusual mouth ulcers and swollen tongues.

The epidemiologist, who is monitoring the UK crisis through his Covid symptom tracker app used by millions of Brits, warned one in five sufferers show symptoms the NHS doesn’t recognise.

Professor Spector warned 20 per cent of infectious people may be slipping through the cracks and continuing to spread the disease because of it. 

The NHS currently only lists three signs of the infection — a fever, continuous cough and loss of smell or taste. It suggests only people with these three symptoms may have Covid-19 and therefore should self-isolate and get tested. 

This means Britons suffering from the virus’ less common symptoms are not getting access to swabs and may be continuing to pass the virus to others. 

The UK has repeatedly been accused of playing catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to spotting Covid-19 throughout the crisis.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of 11 primary symptoms, including fatigue, body aches, headache, sore throat and shortness of breath — but admits the virus can cause an array of other side effects.

He is urging the NHS to recognise 'Covid tongue' as an official symptom of coronavirus amid fears it is becoming more widespread.

He is urging the NHS to recognise ‘Covid tongue’ as an official symptom of coronavirus amid fears it is becoming more widespread.

The UK has been accused of missing 'the majority' of Covid-19 cases because it still only recognises three tell-tale signs of the infection (the NHS website, shown)

The UK has been accused of missing ‘the majority’ of Covid-19 cases because it still only recognises three tell-tale signs of the infection (the NHS website, shown)

The medical name for acute swelling of the tongue as the result of a viral infection is ‘glossitis’. Professor Spector tweeted about the symptom last week.

He said: ‘One in five people with Covid still present with less common symptoms that dont get on the official PHE list – such as skin rashes. 

‘Seeing increasing numbers of Covid tongues and strange mouth ulcers. If you have a strange symptom or even just headache and fatigue stay at home!’

He added today: ‘Keep those Covid tongue pics coming – important to draw attention to these, skin rashes, Covid toes and the 20 plus other symptoms of Covid that go ignored.

‘Thirty-five per cent of people have non-classic symptoms in the first three days when most infective.’

Professor Spector has repeatedly called for the NHS to expand its list – which he described as the ‘briefest in the world’ – to ensure Covid-19 infections are spotted in the early stages – reducing the risk of it being spread as Britons self-isolate earlier.

Professor Spector is drawing attention to the Covid tongue symptom of the virus

Professor Spector is drawing attention to the Covid tongue symptom of the virus

‘We’re still missing 35 per cent of cases that have symptoms that aren’t in the NHS 111 list which is the briefest list in the world,’ he told MailOnline.

He added that anyone using the Covid-19 symptom app can get a test for the virus if they’re suffering any symptom, rather than just the NHS-identified ones. 

Analysis of NHS hospital records show a cough, fever and shortness of breath are the three most common symptoms, with seven out of 10 patients suffering at least one of the three.  

But up to a third of patients also experience respiratory problems, stomach pains and musculoskeletal symptoms — including muscle and joint pain, and fatigue.  

Professor Spector told MailOnline today: ‘We are collecting many anecdotal reports of COVID tongue via the ZOE app and it is associated with Long COVID patients. 

‘We need more analyses before we can put some numbers on how common it is and how predictive it is of COVID. 

‘Until then, unusual tongue symptoms are likely to suggest COVID while the virus is still common.’ 

However, red and white patches can also be caused by other infections, including thrush, according to British Dental Association spokesman Professor Damien Walmsley. 

‘The white patches usually rub off, leaving a sore red patch underneath,’ he said.

But sore patches are often only an indication that a person is run down and their immune system is not firing on all cylinders, he added.

‘It could also occur in those who have been taking antibiotics, or using asthma inhalers.’ 

Single white patches on the tongue ‘can be a bit more worrying,’ according to Professor Walmsley.

It could simply be down to the fact the tongue is rubbing against a tooth or filling and being irritated, but there’s a small chance it could indicate oral cancer.  

A localised white patch or red patch which has been there for more than three weeks should be checked out by your dentist or GP, the expert said.


Professor Spector and researchers from King’s College London have developed a symptom-tracking app which has seen millions of Britons sign up and report their symptoms. 

The full list of symptoms, in order of how predictive they are of the disease, include:

1. Loss of smell/taste

2. Persistent cough

3. Fatigue

4. Loss of appetite

5. Skin rash

6. Hives

7. Fever

8. Severe muscle pain

9. Shortness of breath

10. Diarrhoea

11. Delirium

12. Abdominal pain

13. Chest pain

14. Hoarse voice

15. Eye soreness

16. Sore or painful throat

17. Nausea or vomiting

18. Headache

19. Dizziness or light headedness

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AFL 2021: Neale Daniher, new walkway, FightMND, motor neurone disease, Essendon, MCG bridge, Daniher’s Way

A famous walkway to the MCG will be renamed in Neale Daniher’s honour, the Victorian government has revealed.

Daniher, part of one of Australian football’s most iconic families, has been raising awareness of motor neurone disease since being diagnosed with the illness seven years ago.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced that the walkway from William Barak Bridge to the MCG will be renamed ‘Daniher’s Way’, while also noting the state government had contributed a $1 million donation to FightMND, the organisation founded by Daniher.

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Tennis ace whose genetic disease means she has 6 fingers and 7 toes reaches Australian Open — RT Sport News

British tennis player Francesca Jones will make her first ever Grand Slam appearance after booking a spot in the Australian Open main draw, defying a pessimistic prognosis by doctors who once banned her from playing tennis.

The 20-year-old successfully secured qualification with a confident 6-0, 6-1 win against Lu Jia-Jing of China, grabbing the attention of some admirers who were unaware of the congenital condition she has which affects the fingers and toes, often requiring adaptive surgery.

The athlete – who was born with three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and is missing three toes – was told by doctors that she could never play tennis professionally.

Despite that gloomy outlook, her unbending will, determination and intense training have helped her to conquer remarkable heights, bringing Jones to her maiden major despite being one of the lowest-ranked players in the field.

“I have spent a lot of time just trying to gain strength to support my muscles that can support maybe the…I don’t want to say deficiencies, but just the weaknesses that I may have,”said the current world number 241.

But I think every human being has physical weaknesses, unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo or something. I just try to better mine as I would try to better myself in any other way.

The way I see it is that I am just playing the game with a different set of cards, but it doesn’t mean those cards still can’t win the game.

“Doctors said I would never become a professional. When someone says to you at eight, nine years old that you can’t do something, I suppose most people would be heartbroken, but I just tried to take it on the chin and see how I could prove that person wrong.”

Jones will travel to Melbourne this week, where she will have to quarantine for 14 days in accordance with the tournament’s safety protocol. The tournament runs from Feburary 8-21.

Also on rt.com
‘I don’t support masking people for the sake of TV’: US tennis player Christian Harrison earns backlash & fine for going maskless

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$38 million available for research into diabetes, heart disease – 16 News

Two new medical research centres will be funded by the Morrison Government to produce rapid improvements in preventing, treating and curing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and their complications.

The Government will provide $10 million each for the new research centres ($20 million overall), as well as $18 million to support translational research projects.

Expressions of interest are now being sought by MTPConnect for the two research centres and also the first tranche of translational research projects, worth $6 million. There will be opportunities to fund translational research projects using the remaining $12 million in the future.

The funding is drawn from the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, under its Targeted Translation Research Accelerator, which is managed by MTPConnect.

It will be directed to research projects with the potential to transform diabetes and cardiovascular disease outcomes, and reduce the burden of these diseases on patients, families and the community.

The two research centres will stimulate collaboration across industry, research and clinical organisations.

The Diabetes Research Centre’s translational research, development and implementation science activities will address three priority areas:

·       Diabetic kidney disease.

·       Peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot syndrome.

·       Short term complications of hypoglycaemia and/or hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) and ketoacidosis.

The priorities for the Cardiovascular Disease Research Centre will be:

·       Coronary artery disease (including angina and MACE)

·       Cardiomyopathy and heart failure

·       Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic).

Through a parallel program of research grants, $6 million will also be made available to develop innovative preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic and disease management products and solutions in priority areas.

The priorities for funding were identified through in-depth consultation with doctors and patients and include chronic kidney disease, cardiac and vascular complications, and mental health of people living with cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes.

The new research funding will build on MTPConnect’s work with its partners—ANDHealth, Medical Device Partnering Program, and UniQuest—to help researchers put their diabetes and cardiovascular disease research results into clinical practice, through mentoring and commercialisation support.

Investing in health and medical research is a priority for the Morrison Government. Research is a key pillar of our plan to make Australia’s health system stronger, more equitable, and more sustainable.

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Adelaide grandfather with motor neurone disease urges expansion of support

Graham Johnson has only months left to live but wants to use the time he has to secure better support for others like him.

The Adelaide grandfather was diagnosed with a type of motor neurone disease (MND) last year but, because of his age, still considers himself among the luckier ones.

People diagnosed with MND over the age of 65 are not eligible for NDIS support and instead must rely on charities like the Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia (MND SA).

“I’ve got ALS, which is the most aggressive one. I’m very keen to stay positive,” he said.

“I get well looked after because I was 62, nearly 63, when I was diagnosed.

“But a person who’s 65 and one day old — nothing.”

Mr Johnson was diagnosed with the terminal condition 16 months ago and has launched a campaign, supported by the SA Opposition, calling on the SA Government to step in to provide support.

“I wouldn’t like to be in this situation and not get any help — that’s just so wrong,” Mr Johnson said.

“The support you get from MND SA and NDIS … I don’t actually have to do anything. I just tell them what I want and they do everything for you. They’re fantastic.

“The fact the Government doesn’t support it just really astounds me.”

Funding an ‘ongoing’ challenge

MND SA chief executive Karen Percival said it was an uphill battle trying to support the hundreds of South Australians with MND in need of care.

“In South Australia, we have the challenge of funding to support people with MND,” Ms Percival said.

Ms Percival said funding of $500,000 annually could make a huge difference for South Australians with MND, ensuring there would be adequate support and services for people to access when they were diagnosed with the disease.

“We have never received State Government funding, so that’s a situation that’s been ongoing,” Ms Percival said.

A man wearing a suit speaks away from the camera to another man and a woman
Graham Johnson (centre) with Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton and MND SA chief executive Karen Percival.(ABC News: Dana Morse)

Premier Steven Marshall said the Government was aware of MND SA’s situation, acknowledging some charities had done it “particularly tough” since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the Government had authorised a one-off grant payment to MND SA last month.

“We have actually made, or have authorised, a payment to MND back in the middle of December after representations from people from that sector who said they were finding it really difficult to do that fundraising during a very difficult year.

“We saw this a lot with organisations and charities [who] had fundraisers.”

The average life expectancy for those with MND is 27 months from diagnosis.

The State Opposition says four in five South Australians diagnosed with motor neurone disease over the age of 65 die before they receive proper funding and support.

“South Australians living with MND should be able to spend the time they have left with their loved ones, not languishing on a waiting list to receive basic support,” Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said.

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‘Lessons from COVID-19 will help handle any disease’

More than 11 months since precautionary measures against COVID-19 took off in the State, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine continues to be on guard. Working on the field, its personnel have been at the forefront of COVID-19 prevention and control strategies, even as they continue to prepare for future challenges.

COVID-19 may have brought the State’s public health into focus, but it has provided plenty of knowledge that will help in handling any pandemic, says T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

“COVID-19 has definitely led to an improvement to the public health response. Investment in human resources has been one of the advantages. The knowledge gained will be an advantage in handling and responding to any communicable disease, including H1N1. It has helped in our health system approach, and with this experience, we can handle any pandemic. We have strong infrastructure and trained manpower who can multi-task,” he said.

“While the preparatory works for the COVID-19 vaccine are under way, the new variant of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom has come as a challenge. We can handle it with our experience. The public need to follow physical distancing, wear masks, wash hands, and avoid crowds,” Dr. Selvavinayagam said.

As the State continues to lift restrictions, institutions should adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure, he said. “We have told institutions to identify and appoint a health inspector to monitor compliance with the SOP. They could be retired personnel who could advise on the dos and don’ts,” he said.

As for strategies in the coming months, he said there would be no major changes. Fever clinics and sentinel screening would continue. Saturation testing would be activated wherever required. The findings of the sero surveillance, conducted in 888 clusters in the State would be published shortly, and a second survey would follow, he said. “The laboratory investigations were completed, and data is being analysed. This survey will have district-wise results so that district prevalence will be known,” he said.

Mini clinics

Amid the pandemic, one of the initiatives rolled out by the State government is Amma Mini Clinics. He said the government had planned 2,000 clinics, of which 200 would be in Chennai. “Locations of the clinics have been planned based on six criteria that includes inaccessible areas, where the nearest health facility is an hour’s travel away. This includes urban slums. In the first phase, we are setting up 600 clinics. We will reach 600 to 700 clinics in 15 days,” he said.

On the recruitment of manpower, he said the required human resources had been sanctioned. “We will be recruiting through the Medical Services Recruitment Board. For now, we are deputing our doctors. We will be recruiting staff nurses and other health workers on an outsourcing basis,” he added.

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Loneliest patient in St Vincent’s Hospital spends six months isolated with a deadly disease

Since February, Mr Abu Jalil’s body has shrunk to 42 kilos, more than half his weight a few months earlier. His temperature spiked past 40 degrees daily.

His hands and elbows were covered with necrotising skin lesions, called Gottron papules, causing black and painful sores on his hands and elbows which ulcerated. His lungs rapidly deteriorated. He crashed in the intensive care unit and was resuscitated, more than once.

When he arrived from a country hospital, he was critically ill and “looked awful”, said Dr Girgis. “He was sweating, in pain. He was confused by how unwell he was,” she said.

In the midst of a pandemic, which prevented family or friends from travelling to be with him, he has lost his job as a construction engineer in Melbourne, his visa status is uncertain and he became homeless after his lease ended on an apartment in Victoria. He came to Australia to earn money to support his family in Malaysia, he said.

Khaidir Abu Jalil at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital where he is receiving treatment for MDA5, a rare and severe autoimmune disease. With him are registrar Dr Logan Gardner and rheumatologist Dr Laila Girgis. Credit:Janie Barrett

By the time Mr Abu Jalil arrived at St Vincent’s Public Hospital in July, he had been without a diagnosis since he first became ill in February. Doctors had feared he may have an infectious disease.

He had been transferred from two hospitals in succession, Leeton District and St Vincent’s Private Community Hospital in Griffith, because of his deteriorating condition.

Working with other experts in the hospital, Dr Girgis diagnosed Mr Abu Jalil as having a rare autoimmune disease, called dermatomyositis. “He had low oxygen levels, couldn’t breathe and had to be intubated in ICU,” she said.

Dermatomyositis is rare, but the Malaysian man also tested for a worse variant. He was antibody positive for MDA5, which rapidly scars the lungs. It reduced the risk of his survival to about 50 per cent over six months.

Nearly six months after his admission, he is recovering and staff are optimistic.

Khaidir Abu Jalil, a patient at St Vincents Hospital fighting a rare disease.

Khaidir Abu Jalil, a patient at St Vincents Hospital fighting a rare disease.

During his time at St Vincent’s, he would cry and get sad. He never complained, though, which impressed staff who treated him. Doctors, who were the same age as their patient, said they were shocked by his appearance, only for Mr Abu Jalil to reassure them “I am a fighter”.

When he doesn’t want to face the world, he pulls a blanket over his head, said Amanda McLaughlin, a clinical nurse consultant. She has become close to him during nearly 40 plasma exchanges, during which his blood is washed and which take several hours.

Even when he was very ill, and had to tell his mother in Malaysia to prepare for the worst, Dr Girgis heard him say he was receiving the best of care. “The second time in intensive care, and we said he was critical, his mother cried when I spoke to her on her next-door neighbour’s phone,” said Dr Girgis. “But I was really impressed that even [then], he was reassuring his parents.”

When he arrived in Melbourne for work last year, Mr Abu Jalil said he had a very healthy life – he exercised, went to the gym and played golf. A “quiet reserved person”, he said he didn’t make many friends.

How did he keep going when he was so alone? Mr Abu Jalil responded by bringing out selfies of himself at his sickest.

“I don’t want to go like that again. To motivate [myself), I just look at the picture of me before. I just want a life. I saw my picture… I was very sick, very skinny,” he said.

Amanda McLaughlin attends to Khaidir Abu Jalil at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital where he is receiving treatment for MDA5 antibody positive dermatomyositis, a rare and severe autoimmune disease.

Amanda McLaughlin attends to Khaidir Abu Jalil at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital where he is receiving treatment for MDA5 antibody positive dermatomyositis, a rare and severe autoimmune disease. Credit:Janie Barrett

Mr Abu Jalil deteriorated further when his rapidly deteriorating lung disease caused “white-out lungs”, said Ms McLaughlin.

Because of the immune suppression drugs he was taking, he contracted a fungal infection causing abscesses in his lung. When they did the plasma exchange, it made a remarkable difference, she said. “The chest was quite clear.”

For a man so alone when he arrived, he has made friends throughout the hospital. Every day staff detour from other parts of the hospital to say hello or bring treats. A former patient busted him out for a barbecue one day, which pleased him but worried his doctors.


Little piles of sweets, Turkish delight and bright red Lindt balls, appear as if by magic on his bedside table. When staff discovered he had arrived with no clothes when he was admitted, they faced another problem. Unlike patients with families nearby, he had nobody to wash his clothes.

Mr Abu Jalil said he didn’t like to make a fuss, but wearing a hospital gown for six months had begun to “get old”.

Dr Girgis said “St Vincent’s family” was trying to manage the other problems that had mounted up in Mr Abu Jalil’s life while he had been sick, including an unpredictable visa status and lack of money.

His future is uncertain.

He is expected to be discharged in time for Christmas this week. He has only two weeks’ accommodation lined up in a homeless shelter, Tierney House, operated by St Vincent’s in Darlinghurst.

St Vincent’s hopes donors will support the ongoing cost of his immuno-suppressing drugs and other medications by donating to St Vincent’s Hope Healing and Humanity Fund.

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AFL 2020: Ben Crocker dad, father, Instagram, dead, illness, Alzheimer’s disease

Former Collingwood and Adelaide player Ben Crocker has paid an emotional and moving tribute to his father, who has died after a long journey with illness.

Crocker’s father, Paul, passed away at home in Melbourne surrounded by family, six years after he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 53, which eventually required him to go into full-time care.

Crocker, 23, was back in Victoria when his father died after Adelaide a few weeks ago opted not to offer him a contract for the 2021 season.

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Grand Final

In a beautiful and lengthy Instagram post, Crocker said his family was “absolutely heartbroken” but vowed to remember Paul’s “cheeky smile and infectious personality”.

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Heart Disease Is World’s No. 1 Killer

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide — accounting for one-third of deaths in 2019 — and the death toll continues to rise, a new paper says.

China had the highest number of heart disease deaths last year, followed by India, Russia, the United States and Indonesia. Heart disease death rates were lowest in France, Peru and Japan, where rates were six times lower than in 1990.

Countries need to create cost-effective public health programs to reduce heart disease risk through behavior changes, according to the report’s authors, who examined 30 years of data.

Heart disease cases nearly doubled over the period — from 271 million in 1990 to 523 million in 2019, and the number of heart disease deaths rose from 12.1 million to 18.6 million. In 2019, the majority of heart disease deaths were attributed to ischemic heart disease and stroke, with a steady increase from 1990. (Ischemic heart disease is a term for heart problems caused by narrowed arteries.)

Last year, heart disease was the underlying cause of 9.6 million deaths among men and 8.9 million deaths among women globally. More than 6 million of those deaths occurred in people between 30 and 70 years of age.

The findings were published Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Along with being the leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease (CVD) — especially ischemic heart disease and stroke — is a major cause of disability and rising health care costs.

There was a significant increase in the heart disease-related years of life lost and the number of years lived with heart disease-related disability doubled to 34.4 million from 1990 to 2019, the study found.

“Global patterns of total CVD have significant implications for clinical practice and public health policy development,” said lead author Dr. Gregory Roth, an associate professor of cardiology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Prevalent cases of total CVD are likely to increase substantially as a result of population growth and aging, especially in Northern Africa and Western Asia, Central and Southern Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern and Southeastern Asia, where the share of older persons is projected to double between 2019 and 2050,” he said, calling for increased attention to promoting heart health and healthy aging throughout life.

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super-speed a cure for the disease that took my child

Your world stops the moment you are told your child has cancer. You want nothing more than the doctor in front of you to tell you there is a cure. A wonder drug. Something that will free your child of the cluster of cells running amok in their body. Something that will take it all away.

But they don’t, and the world keeps turning. Instead, your world now involves pediatric oncologists, treatment protocols and managing what your child must endure: chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants, radiation, immunotherapy. If these work your child may be one of the lucky ones.

Like everyone did under COVID, in the cancer club you live under a long list of restrictions. Treatment leaves your child immunosuppressed – catching a cold risks death. Don’t socialise with friends, or keep your distance if you do. Be careful at the shops, be especially careful at playgrounds. Forget about schools or childcare. Any sign of fever and you’re straight into hospital for 48 hours of IV antibiotics – pray they keep working.

Stephanie Dunstan with her daughter Saskia.

This happened to me. My beautiful daughter, Saskia, was diagnosed at 22 months with stage four neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that starts in the adrenal glands and quickly spreads. Around 60 children a year are diagnosed in Australia. Their survival rate is 50 per cent.

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