Delhi hospital sees increase in deadly fungal infection among Covid-19 patients

A city hospital has reported an increase in the number of cases of a rare fungal infection triggered by the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as the cases of the viral infection has increased exponentially in the city. Six patients with the rare infection mucormycosis were admitted to Sir Ganga Ram hospital over the last two days.

In December last year, the hospital had seen 10 cases of the fungal infection in patients with Covid-19 or those who had recently recovered from it in a period of fifteen days.

If not detected early, the infection – Mucormycosis also known as black fungus – can kill half the patients. Others might lose eye-sight or have to get their jaw bones removed if the infection spreads.

It is an opportunistic infection that happens in mostly immune-compromised Covid-19 patients such as those with diabetes, kidney disease, or those who have had transplants.

“We are again seeing an increase in the number of the dangerous fungal infection triggered by Covid-19. Last year, this deadly infection had caused high mortality with other suffering from loss of eye sight, removal of nose, and jaw bone,” said Dr Manish Munjal, senior ENT surgeon at the hospital.

Doctors say that use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19 patients might weaken the immune system of the already sick patients resulting in the black fungus.

“Use of steroids in treatment of Covid-19 infection in addition to the fact that many Covid-19 patients have diabetes as co- morbidity could be one of the reasons for this rise in black fungus infection again,” said Dr Ajay Swaroop, Chairman, Department of ENT at the hospital.

“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,” Dr Munjal added.

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