At least eight Covid-19 survivors have died from mucormycosis, a fungal infection, during treatment in Maharashtra, a senior official said Saturday, adding a total of 200 such patients are being treated. According to Dr. Tatyarao Lahane, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), says cases of mucormycosis are on the rise.
“Eight out of 200 such patients so far treated in different parts of the state have died from mucormycosis, also known as a black fungus. They survived COVID-19 infection, but the fungal infection attacked their weak immune system, which turned out to be lethal, “said Dr. Said Lahane to PTI. Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul on Friday said mucormycosis is caused by a fungus called mucor, which is found on wet surfaces.
He had also said that when the same COVID-1
“In such a scenario, the black fungus easily infects the patient and spreads. If the fungus reaches the infected person’s brain, it can prove fatal. In such a case, one of the eyes of a patient had to be permanently removed to save his life. He said. Dr. Lahane said that mucormycosis is a serious fungal infection that is found among people with a low level of immunity as well as among those suffering from chronic diabetes or those who have undergone a kidney transplant among others.
“Although this fungus is present in the environment, people with suppressed immunity as well as having received steroids during COVID-19 treatment are more susceptible to it. COVID-19 patients with comorbidities are also vulnerable and can catch the infection early,” he explained. .
Dr. Lahane said the general symptoms of mucormycosis include headaches, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial vision loss among others. Speaking of treatment, he said, “A patient generally needs a special type of injection to be given for 21 days. The basic cost of this injection comes around Rs 9,000 per day. The cost of treatment escalates with other facilities, medicines, etc. “.
Dr Hetal Marfatia, professor and head of ENT at KEM Hospital in Mumbai, said the increase in cases of mucormycosis has been seen in the last two weeks. “On average, 2 to 3 such patients visit the hospital every day,” said Dr. Marfatia.
Dr. Marfatia said many of these patients are outside of Mumbai who cannot afford the treatment costs as the drugs are expensive. “Their infection becomes severe when they visit KEM for treatment,” he added.
According to him, cases of mucormycosis had also been reported during the first COVID-19 wave, but the number was relatively small. “Also such cases were not reported so early during the first wave,” he added.
He further said that (COVID-19) patients last year had contracted the fungal infection typically a few weeks after being discharged from hospitals. “But now, some patients are getting this infection while undergoing COVID-19 treatment,” he added.
Dr. Marfatia further said that patients coming from other cities carry a serious fungal infection. “I was shocked to see a 29-year-old patient from Maharashtra in the countryside lose both eyes due to mucormycosis. People need to understand the severity of COVID-19 as well as such diseases,” he said.
Dr Marfatia advised strict control of diet and regular exercise to stay fit. He said that unhealthy eating habits seriously affect the immune system, making one vulnerable to such diseases.
On May 7, Maharashtra’s COVID-19 figure was 49.96,758, while the total number of deaths was 74,413. The total number of recoveries was 42.65,326, the health department said.
Meanwhile, cases of mucormycosis are also being reported in Gujarat, leaving many patients blind, doctors and officials said on Saturday. Mathur Savani, president of Surat-based Kiran Super multi-specialty hospital, said mucormycosis was detected in a patient who had recovered from COVID-19 disease about three weeks ago.
“This number has risen to about 50 now, while 60 more such patients are awaiting treatment,” Savani told PTI. The hospital, managed by a trust, has received several patients diagnosed with Mucormycosis, who are being referred from various areas in Surat and other parts of Gujarat, he said.
“As of now, 50 mucormycosis patients are being treated at Kiran Hospital, and 60 others are awaiting (treatment). They all came to our hospital for the last three weeks. All patients suffering from mucormycosis had recently recovered from COVID-19, ”said Savani. According to Savani, seven such patients have so far lost their sight.
Given the growing number of patients with mucormycosis, Surat’s civilian hospital has set up a separate facility for their treatment, said the responsible Resident Medical Officer (RMO), Dr. Ketan Naik. He said a separate facility has been set up with the dedicated medical staff, who will soon begin treating patients with mucormycosis.
In Ahmedabad, at least five patients with mucormycosis are operated on every day at the civilian hospital in Asarva, a senior doctor said. “In Ahmedabad, we are receiving 5-10 such cases at the civilian hospital, especially since the second wave of COVID-19 started. These patients are prioritized and operated on as early as possible, ”said Dr. Devang Gupta, ENT doctor at the city’s civilian hospital.
He said various resources, including manpower, equipment and injection required to treat mucormycosis patients, are made available by the government. “At least one in five such cases is related to the eyes. Several of them (patients) suffer from blindness, ”he said.
Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul on Friday said mucormycosis is found in patients with Covid-19 disease. It is caused by a fungus called mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. It happens to a large extent for people who have diabetes. It is very unusual in those who are not diabetics. There is no major outbreak and we are monitoring it, ”he had said.
According to Dr. Paul attacks mucor people with uncontrolled sugar. He had also said that when the same COVID-19 patient is put on oxygen support who has a humidifier containing water, the chances of him or her getting the fungal infection increase.
On May 7, Gujarat’s COVID-19 figure was 6,58,036, while the total toll is 8,154. The total number of recoveries was 5.03,497.
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