COVID-19 related black fungal infections adds chaos amidst a pandemic
New Delhi, May 08: Doctors at a leading private facility in Delhi are witnessing a rise in the number of Covid-triggered mucormycisis cases, according to a statement from the hospital.
Mucormycisis is a fungal infection triggered by COVID-19. Black fungus or mucormycosis has been a cause of disease and death of patients in transplants, ICUs and immunodeficient patients since long.
Dr Manish Munjal, senior ENT surgeon at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: "We are seeing a rise again in this dangerous fungal infection triggered by COVID-19. In the last two days, we have admitted six cases of mucormycisis. Last year, this deadly infection caused a high mortality with many patients suffering from the loss of eyesight and the removal of the nose and the jaw bone."
Dr Ajay Swaroop, the chairman of the ENT department at the hospital, said the use of steroids in the treatment of COVID-19 coupled with the fact that many coronavirus patients have diabetes could be one of the reasons for this rise in the number of black fungus cases again.
He said the infection is commonly seen in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but have comorbidities such as diabetes, kidney or heart failure or cancer.
Dr Munjal concurred with his colleague and said COVID patients with a weak immunity are more prone to this deadly infection.
"Early clinical suspicion on symptoms such as nose obstruction, swelling in the eyes or cheeks and black crusts in the nose should immediately prompt a biopsy and start of antifungal therapy as early as possible," he said.
The infection is commonly seen in patients who are at the recovery stage but have comorbidities such as diabetes, kidney, heart failure or cancer. Doctors feel this could be due to the use of steroids in curing COVID-19.
While similar cases were reported last year as well, an advisory issued last year said that it is a serious but rare fungal infection. It is triggered by the viral Covid-19. In many cases, the infection has been a cause of serious complications and death of a patient in transplants, ICUs. It is a "serious but rare infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.
Mujhal further said that those with weak immunity are more probe to this deadly infection. It mainly affects the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air or the skin after the fungus enters through a cut, burn or other types of skin injury. It can occur in any part of the body, but cannot spread between people or between people and animals.
Some of the symptoms are face numbness, nose obstructions on one side, swelling the eye or pain. It could also be accompanied by fever, cough or headache. The doctors have suggested to remain cautious of symptoms such as blackened skin tissue, redness, blisters or swelling.
Dr. Munjhal said that earlu clinical suspicion on symptoms such as nose obstruction, swelling in the eyes or cheeks and black crusts in the nose should immediately prompt a biopsy and start of anti-fungal therapy as early as possible.
It is also advised that people must avoid direct contact with lot of dust and wear shoes, long pants and gloves while handling moss and soil. It is also advised to clean skin injuries with soap and water.