One of the biggest downsides of becoming ill with COVID-19 is the inability to be around friends or family during quarantining. But could the virus make it difficult to recognize loved ones at all?

A recent study in the journal Cortex suggests it’s possible. Researchers from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, reported the first instance of prosopagnosia (otherwise known as “face blindness”) as a symptom after COVID-19 infection.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines prosopagnosia as “a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces.” 

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The condition is caused by “congenital influence, damage or impairment in a fold in the brain that appears to coordinate the neural systems controlling facial perception and memory,” the website says.

The study focused on a 28-year-old woman named Annie, who contracted COVID in March 2020. Prior to that, Annie had no trouble recognizing faces — but two months after getting the virus, she struggled to identify even her closest family members.

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In one example, Annie reported that she was unable to recognize her father’s face when she passed him at a restaurant, saying it was as if “my dad’s voice came out of a stranger’s face.” 

She told the researchers she now relies on people’s voices as a means of identification.

During tests, Annie was able to identify objects and scenes, but failed to identify familiar faces. 

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She also reported deficits in her navigational abilities, as she now struggles to find her way through a grocery store, locate her parked car without help or remember directions to frequently visited locations. (The researchers cited navigational difficulty as a common symptom among prosopagnosia patients.)

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H/T Fox News (read more at FoxNews.com)

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