BENGALURU: Doctors at different hospitals in the city have seen various facets of a rare and serious fungal infection occurring in Covid patients.
Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds called mucormycetes, which can enter the body through the air (via fungal spores) or the skin though a skin injury.
They affect people who have health problems or people who take medicines that lower the body’s immune system to fight germs and sickness. Symptoms include nasal discharge, abdominal pain, bleeding in the nose, eye movement restriction, and lung problems.
Doctors at Aster CMI have treated four patients aged above 60 who contracted the fungal infection. Two patients aged 60 and 65 years succumbed to the disease.
“They were admitted for Covid-19, but in two days their sugar levels and blood pressure shot up. They had a black nasal discharge, after which we did a CT scan and MRI which revealed the fungal infection in the sinus cavities and a nasal biopsy confirmed it,” said Dr Prateek Nayak, consultant for ENT surgery at Aster CMI Hospital.
“Mucormycosis is dreadful fungal infection. It attacks the blood vessels. It affects elderly people whose immunity is down. Steroids can also raise the risk of fungal infections,” Dr Prateek said.
Dr Vivekanand Padegal, director of pulmonology at Fortis Hospital has found that diabetics are more susceptible to the fungus. “Uncontrolled diabetes can make patients vulnerable to the infection.
Many Covid patients who have moderate to severe illness have poorly controlled diabetes, but it can affect people of any age. Treatment can last several weeks and recovery time is variable. It has a high mortality rate,” he said.
Doctors at Apollo Hospital have also come across several patients who developed the disease. Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonology, said they found it in patients who had been prescribed tocilizumab and remdesivir medications. “The infection mostly occurred after the second week of contracting Covid. It can also be diagnosed with a sputum test,” he said.
Member of the state’s Critical Care Support Unit and geriatric care expert Dr Anoop Amarnath said he had come across even people who recovered from Covid-19 contracting the fungal disease. “We see the infection in the nasal and ear cavities in a small percentage of Covid survivors,” he said.