The black fungus infection which is called mucormycosis is not a new infection but the number of cases has suddenly increased because of Covid-19 and its treatment, said AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria on Saturday.
The spores of this fungal infection are present in the air, in soil, and sometimes in food. “So wearing the mask is very important, especially if you visit a construction site,” Dr. Guleria said adding that at AIIMS Delhi there are 23 cases of the infection. Out of these, 20 patients are still infected with Covid-19, he said.
Dr. Guleria said some states are reporting more than 400 to 500 cases that are urging hospitals to focus more on infection control, the AIIMS chief said that secondary fungal infection is causing more morbidity and mortality.
“Mucormycosis was present before Covid also. During the 2003 SARS outbreak too, this infection was reported,” Dr. Guleria said adding that Covid infection, diabetes, and the misuse of steroids during the treatment of Covid-19 are responsible for the increase in the infection, he said.
As COVID-19 cases are increasing, it’s of paramount importance that we follow protocols of infection control practices at hospitals. It is been seen that secondary infections — fungal & bacterial — are causing more mortality: AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria pic.twitter.com/xQ85pKFTNO
— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2021
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has also advised people on the early detection and management of the black fungal infection that has been reported in a number of Covid-19 patients, especially in Maharashtra.
Vardhan said sharing four slides on the fungus, “Awareness and early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection.”
According to an advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the following conditions in COVID-19 patients increase the risk of mucormycosis infection:
1) Uncontrolled diabetes
2) Weakening of immune system due to use of steroids
3) Prolonged ICU/hospital stay
4) Co-morbidities / post organ transplant / cancer
5) Voriconazole therapy (used to treat serious fungal infections)
How to prevent Mucormycosis?
According to the advisory:
1) If you are visiting dusty construction sites then use masks
2) Wear shoes, long trousers, long sleeve shirts, and gloves while handling soil (gardening), moss, or manure
3) Maintain personal hygiene, including thorough scrub bath
4) The disease can be managed by controlling diabetes, discontinuing immunomodulating drugs, reducing steroids, and extensive surgical debridement- to remove all necrotic materials.