Doctors at a leading private facility in Delhi have found multiple cases in recovering coronavirus patients, who were diagnosed with a deadly fungal infection “triggered by COVID-19”, due to which nearly half of them lost their eyesight, hospital authorities claimed on Monday.
In the last 15 days, ENT surgeons at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) have seen 13 cases of “COVID-19-triggered mucormycosis”.
A rare but serious fungal infection, Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds called mucormycetes, which can enter the body through the air (via fungal spores) or the skin through a skin injury. Mucormycosis can’t spread between people or between people and animals.
Black Fungus or mucormycosis has been a cause of disease and death of patients in transplants, and ICU and immunodeficient individuals since long. However, it is the rapid increase in the numbers seen in unsuspected recovering COVID-19 patients that is causing the grave concern, the SGRH said in a statement.
“In the last 15 days, ENT surgeons have seen 13 cases of COVID-19-triggered mucormycosis in over 50% patients, with loss of eyesight, and removal of nose and jaw bone needed,” it said.
Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It is a rare fungal infection with a mortality rate of 50%.
Symptoms include nasal discharge, abdominal pain, bleeding in the nose, eye movement restriction, and lung problems.
The ENT and Eye team at Sir Ganga Ram have had to do resections procedure in about 10 patients over the last fortnight, with about 50% losing their eyesight permanently.
Five of these patients required critical care support, due to other associated complications. So far, there also have been five unfortunate mortalities in this subgroup, according to the official version of Ganga Ram Hospital.
As per the experts, Covid-19 patients are more susceptible to this virus, adding that it is there in the air. They say that it is a ubiquitous fungus and is present in the plant, animal and air but it is attacking covid recovered patients because they have been given steroids and have co-morbidities, which make is even worse.
Before COVID-19 infection, mucormycosis takes around 15-30 days to spread but after contracting COVID-19, the spread occurs within just 2-3 days.
Earlier, a retina and ocular trauma surgeon had said that five cases of mucormycosis have been detected in Ahmedabad. As per the report, two patients had already died while two surviving patients lost their eyesight.