Mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. It can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn, or other type of skin injury.
Does it happen to everyone who has contracted Covid?
No it doesn’t but indeed the disease though rare is being detected among patients who are recovering or have recovered from Covid-19. Moreover, anyone who is a diabetic and whose immune system is not functioning well needs to be on the guard again. In normal course, the body’s immune system successfully fights against such fungal infections.
However, the Covid 19 affects the immune system itself badly due to high use of steroids. Moreover, the treatment of Covid 19 patients involves intake of drugs such as dexamethasone, which suppresses the immune response. Due to these factors, Covid 19 patients face an enhanced risk of failing the battle against the combined enemy of virus and micro-organisms such as mucormycetes. In addition, Covid patients who undergo oxygen therapy in hospital ICU where humidifiers are used are prone to fungal infections because of exposure to moisture.
What’s ICMR advisory in this regard?
The ICMR advisory suggests following conditions for an increased risk of Mucormycosis infection or black fungus as it commonly known:
Weakening of immune system due use of steroids
Prolonged ICU stay
Comorbidities / Post organ transplant
Voriconazole therapy which is used to treat serious fungal infections
What’s its treatment?
Treatment involves surgically removing all dead and infected tissues. In serious patients, it may result in loss of upper jaw or even an eye. Cure generally involves 4-6 weeks course of IV antifungal therapy administered by microbiologists and ENT specialists.
Sunil Kumar Kalra
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Sunil Kumar Kalra, LLB from Delhi University is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi and NCDRC Delhi. He was formerly a Vice President at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Genpact LLC.