The list of mysterious symptoms related to the coronavirus keeps getting longer.
The latest unexpected side effect happened to an 86-year-old woman in Italy, whose fingers turned black with gangrene as COVID-19 caused severe clotting, cutting off the blood supply to her extremities.
Doctors were forced to amputate three of her digits after diagnosing the woman in April 2020, calling the case study a “severe manifestation” of the disease in a new report published in the European Journal of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery.
Physicians were already aware that the coronavirus may wreak havoc on the vascular system, though they aren’t yet sure why. Currently, many in the medical community believe that the side effect may be related to an increasingly common immune overreaction to COVID-19, called a “cytokine storm,” which prompts the body to attack both sickened cells and healthy tissues.
The medical community continues to discover new, unexpected conditions of the disease — as the US approaches 27 million cases this week since the March 2020 outbreak, per data from the World Health Organization. While many experience ailments similar to those associated with influenza, such as fever, body aches, trouble breathing and nasal congestion, other common warning signs have included nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and a mysterious inability to taste and smell, according to the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention.
Even a year into the pandemic, scientists are still pinpointing unanticipated symptoms. Last week, King’s College London researcher Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology, revealed that one in five COVID-19 patients are reporting less common ills, such as skin rashes, mouth sores and an enlarged tongue, which aren’t included in the CDC’s list of symptoms.
Spector’s speculation comes via data collected by the ZOE COVID Symptom Study in the UK, which encourages Britons to self-report what they experience during an infection. Spector told USA Today last week that “COVID tongue,” in which tongues of coronavirus patients inexplicably swell, is one of the rarest symptoms he’s observed, “affecting less than 1 in 100 people,” he estimated.