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In a first in India, Karnataka doctor diagnosed with black and green fungus after surviving Covid-19

The patient, Dr Karthikeyan R, developed numbness and heaviness on his face, pain in the right side of the face, intolerable headache and nasal discharge while he was admitted to a hospital in Mysuru.

Published: 25th June 2021 10:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2021 10:21 AM   |  A+A-

Black Fungus

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: A paediatric physiotherapist from Bengaluru, who suffered from Covid-19 in April, is possibly the first patient in India to develop both black fungus (mucormycosis) and green fungus (aspergillosis).

The patient, Dr Karthikeyan R, developed numbness and heaviness on his face, pain in the right side of the face, intolerable headache and nasal discharge while he was admitted to a hospital in Mysuru.

"It did not look like a regular black fungus case as he had greenish-brown salt deposits (crystals) in his nose. The fungal culture revealed green fungus. Endoscopy showed puss in his nose and CT and MRI scan detected fungal infection. With an endoscopic surgery through his nose, we drilled the bone and cleared the dead tissue. Anti-fungal medication alone would not have led to cure as black fungus affects the blood supply to the tissue and grows on dead tissue. Post-surgery, he was given anti-fungal medication," said Dr Prashanth R Reddy, Chief Consultant, ENT and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgeon, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.

The patient was not a known diabetic but was diagnosed with it after Covid. During his treatment for coronavirus in Mysuru, he was on steroids. If not treated in time, the condition would have turned fatal, as it can invade the eyes and brain. Dr Reddy said that the root cause of fungal infection is necrotising (tissue death) sinusitis (inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses) caused by a Covid variant. Fungal infections grow extremely fast as well and can develop at any time post-Covid.

Speaking to TNIE, the patient, Dr Karthikeyan, said he was initially admitted to a small hospital in Bengaluru where his oxygen levels dropped to 75-80%. He got himself shifted to Mysuru, where he was admitted to an ICU for 12 days where his parameters dropped. "After 4-5 days, I showed improvement and was weaned off the ventilator and put on oxygen support. This is when I began to develop pain in the right side of the face and intolerable headache. It was initially diagnosed as sinusitis as the MRI did not reveal a fungal infection. However, the symptoms persisted. I decided to consult a doctor in Bengaluru," he said.  His pain has come down after the surgery, but numbness still persists.

What is it?

According to Dr Prashanth R Reddy, Chief Consultant, ENT and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgeon, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, the different colours of fungal infection are due to the various species of the fungus.

"The reason why we're seeing so many different types of fungi is secondary to the fertile dead tissue in the nasal sinus cavities caused post the Covid infection, and what colour (species of fungus) is totally based on culture of the fungus," he said.


 
 



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