THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is not just black fungus, but the widespread use of immunity-suppressing medicines and poor management of diabetes seen during the second wave of Covid, which can also attract a host of other types of fungal attacks, according to the health experts.
Patients with serious cases of black fungus (mucormycosis) infection have been reported in the state, while fungal infections such as white fungus (Candida and Aspergillus) and yellow fungus have been reported in other parts of the country. Though the fungal infections have always troubled patients with compromised immunity, the second wave of pandemic warranted an enhanced vigil over the situation.
“The rise in the number of Covid patients during the second wave created a favourable condition for all kinds of opportunistic fungus,” said K P Aravindan, pathologist and member of the Covid-19 expert panel. According to him, it is important to ensure easy availability of drugs used to treat fungal infections.
At the peak of the second wave, the state had around 4.5 lakh active Covid patients. The total number of confirmed patients also crossed 24 lakh. The heavy caseload also contributed to the rise in fungal infection.
“As the caseload increases, the attention given to comorbidities wanes. So conditions like uncontrolled diabetes and indiscriminate use of medicine arise, providing a favourable condition for fungal attacks,” said Vishad Viswanath, a consultant rheumatologist. He also pointed out the possibility of ignoring the early symptoms of fungal attacks since such systemic infections were not common. Though chances of fungal infection have increased, the situation has not become alarming yet, he said.
The medicine used for treating fungal infection is in short supply as the government streamlines the supply side. According to R C Sreekumar, chairman of research cell of Indian Medical Association (IMA), the hospitals did not regularly stock the medicines because the instances were few. Four out of 10 hospitals stocked the anti-fungal medicines, he said.