In Delhi, Pune, and Ahmedabad, there is a sudden emergence of a deadly infection known as Mucormycosis or Black fungus. Dr. Tatyarao Lahane, head of the Directorate of Medical Research of the State government informed that at least 8 Covid-19 survivors were dead and more than 200 are still getting treated in Maharashtra. This infection led to blindness, serious illness, and even death. It is a matter of concern because its treatment is too costly for the people.
Causes and Symptoms
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Mucormycetes, a group of molds, are the cause of this black fungal. It is present in the environment and affects people who have some serious health illness or are used to take medicines that decrease our body’s ability to fight germs or infections. The death rate due to this infection is 54 percent estimated by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
The symptoms noted for this infection are facial pain, headache, nasal congestion, loss of sight or pain in the eyes, swelling in cheeks and eyes, and black crusts in the nose. But, the matter of high concern is that this infection is rapidly being seen in Covid survivors and pushes them back into the ICUs. It is attacking their weak immune system.
Dr. Mahesh Kumar, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru, said, “Mucormycosis can be very dangerous if left untreated can cause mutilating damage to the face, nose, eyes with disfigurement and loss of vision and also cause invasive brain infection.”
Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo hospital, New Delhi, said, ” Mucormycosis is affecting Covid patients more due to prolonged administration of steroids and subsequent immunocompromised state. In Covid, patients get steroids and immunity goes down and they may get this infection.”
In Mumbai, two or three patients affected by black fungal infection visited the hospital every day on average. It was first noticed in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic after two or three weeks of the recovery. It can be prevented by avoiding the prolonged use of asteroids. It can also be treated by doing surgery on the infected part and removing it.
In March 2021, the Drug Controller General of India approved the antifungal medication, Liposomal Amphotericin B or LAmB, to treat this infection. The injection should be given to the patient for 21 days, which will at least cost Rs 9,000 per day.
Cases in different cities
Mathur Savani, Chairman of Surat-based Kiran Super Multi-speciality Hospital, informed, “Fifty mucormycosis patients are being treated and 60 more are awaiting treatment.”. The patients are coming from many parts of Gujarat in this hospital.
In Ahmedabad, Dr. Devang Gupta, ENT Specialist at Asarva civil hospital, said, “ We get five to 10 such cases daily, especially since the second wave of COVID-19 started. At least one in five cases is related to the eyes. Many are suffering from blindness.”
In Delhi, Dr. Manish Munjal, Senior ENT Surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, revealed, ”We are seeing a rise again in this dangerous fungal infection by COVID-19. In the last two days, we have admitted six cases of mucormycosis. Last year, this deadly infection caused high mortality with many patients suffering from loss of eyesight and removal of nose and jaw bone.”
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