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Mucormycosis cases rising, keep diabetes in check, Ahmedabad doctors warn

The fungal infection is a result of compromised immunity after Covid-19 and is also seen in patients who are still Covid positive, often affecting those with uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, etc.

Written by Sohini Ghosh | Ahmedabad |
Updated: April 26, 2021 10:43:01 am
Mucormycosis cases rising, keep diabetes in check, Ahmedabad doctors warnNot only Tankaria villagers but also people from neighbouring villages is expected to benefit from the initiative, Patel said. (Representational)

Even as Covid-19 cases continue to rise steeply, one of the premier private hospitals in Ahmedabad has cautioned of mucormycosis cases, often as a post-Covid complication in the form of a fungal infection. Cautioning against indiscriminate use of steroids, doctors are cautioning the public to keep diabetes in check.

At a press conference discussing treatment protocol for Covid-19 on April 22 at Gandhinagar by the state’s task force of medical experts, Dr VN Shah, director at Zydus Hospital in Ahmedabad, said that in two days, Zydus Hospital saw nearly 10 cases of mucormycosis.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Shah added that nearly 500 mucormycosis cases were treated at Zydus over a year since the pandemic struck.

The fungal infection is a result of compromised immunity after Covid-19 and is also seen in patients who are still Covid positive, often affecting those with uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, etc.

Gujarat health department does not keep a count of mucormycosis “as it is not a communicable disease”. In December 2020, the department had issued an advisory noting that the fungal infection is a serious infection with a mortality rate of nearly 50 per cent, and are being reported in “Covid-19 patients in Ahmedabad and Rajkot”.

In the Gujarat Assembly, De-puty Chief Minister Nitin Patel who holds the health portfolio had said that in the two years till December 31, 2020, 66 cases of mucormycosis were reported in Ahmedabad city, of which four died.

Dr Prachi Desai, dental consultant at Zydus Hospital, cautions that the rare infection that doctors were more often acquainted with theoretically in books, have seen a significant rise. Dr Desai added that while one may survive the infection, quality of life is affected and rehabilitation involves lot of time and money.

“A 32-year-old man, who had his upper jaw removed after he was infected with Covid couple of months ago, was recently diagnosed with mucormycosis. He had undiagnosed diabetes. In another 50-year old patient, a week prior to reporting recovery from Covid on April 19, a pin-point indication of the fungal infection was detected and it was removed it through endoscopy. But a week later, we saw half of his jaw was involved, and had to be removed. It is important that uncontrolled diabetes or even borderline diabetes has to be kept in check throughout,” Dr Desai said.

Dr Desai adds that while one may survive the infection, quality of life is affected and rehabilitation involves lot of time and money.

A multicentre observational study led by infectious disease specialist Dr Atul Patel saw that the 90-day mortality rate was 52% of the 465 patients.

The study also concluded that diabetes mellitus was the “dominant predisposing factor in all forms of mucormycosis” and that a combination of surgical and medical management was associated with better outcomes.

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