BENGALURU: Doctors in Bengaluru, struggling with rising Covid cases already, are witnessing a slow rise in a rare form of fungal infection — Mucormycosis or Black Fungus — which could affect vision and threaten life, if people do not get treated immediately after spotting its symptoms.
Attributing its rise in the second wave to increased use of steroids, doctors warn people, especially diabetics, to keep a watch on symptoms. Around 10 cases were detected at Apollo Hospitals, Jayanagar in the past month. Manipal, Aster and other private and government hospitals too are seeing such cases. In the first wave, this infection was seen in post-Covid patients, especially the elderly.
Health experts said Mucormycosis mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens. Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from the air. Mucormycosis has to be suspected in Covid patients, diabetics and immuno-suppressed individuals.
One-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling, blackish discolouration over the bridge of nose or palate, toothache, loosening of teeth, jaw involvement, blurred or double vision with pain, fever, skin lesion, thrombosis and necrosis (eschar), chest pain, pleural effusion, haemoptysis and worsening of respiration are the symptoms, a senior doctor said.
Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonology, Apollo Hospitals, said, “We have seen cases, mainly among patients who had taken steroids during Covid. The infection occurred after the second week of being infected with Covid. It can be diagnosed through a sputum test and patients can recover if they come in early stages.”
In most patients, especially diabetics, sugar levels and blood pressure went high and they had a black nasal discharge. A CT and MRI scan revealed fungal infection in the sinus cavities and a nasal biopsy confirmed it as black fungus.A senior doctor said that steroids are used among 10-15 per cent of Covid patients.