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Doctors flag Covid-linked deadly fungal infection after Ganga Ram hospital sees 12 cases in 15 days

Black Fungus or Mucormycosis, previously called zygomycosis, is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which exist in the environment.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: December 15, 2020 9:25:56 am
Mohali Covid fatality rate, MOhali coronavirus cases, unjab covid cases, Mohali news, Punjab news, Indian express newsThe symptoms are face numbness, one-side nose obstructions or swelling of eyes, or pain. The ENT surgeons take samples for culture and start definitive medical treatment which might prevent medical loss.

Doctors at Sir Ganga Ram hospital have witnessed more than 12 cases of Covid-19 triggered Mucormycosis fungus — which causes loss of eyesight, removal of the nose and jaw bone, and 50 per cent mortality in cases where it affects the brain — within 15 days.

Black Fungus or Mucormycosis, previously called zygomycosis, is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which exist in the environment. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

EXPLAINED

Risk factors

Black Fungus or Mucormycosis is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. Mucor-mycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body's ability to fight germs and sickness.

Dr Manish Munjal, Senior ENT surgeon at the hospital, said, “The frequency with which we are witnessing the occurrence of Covid triggered mucormycosis with high morbidity and mortality is alarming. Early clinical suspicion on symptoms such as nose obstruction, swelling in the eye or cheeks, and black dry crusts in the nose should immediately prompt a biopsy and start of the antifungal therapy as early as possible.”

The symptoms are face numbness, one-side nose obstructions or swelling of eyes, or pain. The ENT surgeons take samples for culture and start definitive medical treatment which might prevent medical loss.

In one case, a 32-year-old who had recovered from Covid-19 experienced a nagging left side nose obstruction, which rapidly became an eye swelling within two days, after which he reached out to the doctors. The left side of his face had become completely numb and he was brought to the hospital emergency in a partially disoriented and obtunded state.

“His tests revealed the presence of steeply elevated sugar and infection levels, but even more deadlier, the presence of a killer rare fungus called Mucor, which was sampled from his nose debris. An MRI revealed that the infection had already destroyed a significant part of his left side sinuses, eye, upper jaw bone and muscles, and even had made passage into the brain,” said Dr Munjal.

An extensive surgical debridement was undertaken by a team of ENT and eye surgeons, and the patient had to be subsequently put on life saving antifungal medication and vital critical care support for more than two weeks.

Early detection can prevent loss of eyesight, nose or jaw through clinical intervention, doctors said. Dr Shaloo Bageja, a senior eye surgeon at the hospital, said, “Orbital involvement (the bony cavity that contains the eyeball) is a grave development in the course of this disease, and points not only towards the possibility of permanent loss of eyesight but life as well because brain involvement is the leading cause of death in mucormycosis.”

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