The Health Ministry Monday said the country reported at least 40,845 cases of mucormycosis and 3,129 fatalities from the fungal infection during the second wave of the pandemic. More than half of the affected patients were on steroids.
Of the total number of mucormycosis patients, 34,940 had Covid, 26,187 had the co-morbidity of diabetes, and 21,523 were on steroids, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said while chairing the 29th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers on Covid-19.
The official data also showed that 13,083 patients were in the 18-45 age group, 17,464 were in the 45-60 group, and 10,082 were aged above 60.
Mucormycosis is an infection that affects the sinuses or lungs after fungal spores are inhaled from the air. Earlier, the incidence of this fungal infection was low and mainly reported in those patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
But during the second wave, several hospitals started reporting a significant increase in the number Covid-associated mucormycosis cases. This was due to two broad reasons: first, cases among Covid-19 patients who have diabetes, where the risk of fungal infection is high, and second, indiscriminate use of steroids during Covid-19 treatment.
Amid the increasing number of mucormycosis patients, the Health Ministry, on May 21, had directed the states to review their preparedness for infection prevention and control in the hospitals.