Mucormycosis Affecting Covid-19 Patients in India

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According to the CDC, Mucormycos is, “A serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.  These fungi live throughout the environment, particularly in soil and in decaying organic matter, such as leaves, compost piles, or rotten wood. People get mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment.”

The infection affects our sinuses, brain, and lungs.  Doctors in India now theorize that mucormycosis could be triggered by steroid use as a treatment for Covid-19. The steroids in use help the lungs of a covid-19 infected patient by reducing the swelling, however they also reduce the body’s immune system.  This is what doctors believe could be causing the cases of mucormycosis.

Dr. Akshay Nair, a Mumbai-based eye surgeon, said “Diabetes lowers the body’s immune defenses, coronavirus exacerbates it, and then steroids which help fight Covid-19 act like fuel to the fire.” Dr. Nair says he has now seen almost 40 patients suffering from the fungal infection in the month of April alone in Mumbai, one of the hardest hit cities of the Covid-19 pandemic during the second wave. Most of them were diabetic and got the fungal infection after recovering from Covid-19.

Doctors have said that most of these patients have arrived late into the disease’s affects, when they are already beginning to lose their vision.  Dr. Rahul Baxi, a Mumbai-based diabetologist, says it is important that Covid-19 patients are given the correct dosage and duration of steroids during treatment and recovery. Dr. Raghuraj Hegde, an eye surgeon, said “The strain of the virus appears to be virulent, sending blood sugars soaring to very high levels. And strangely, the fungal infection is affecting a lot of young people.” Yet the government’s stance is that there is “no big outbreak.”

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