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Odisha reports first case of 'black fungus' in 71-year-old COVID patient

The patient, a resident of the Jajpur district, was admitted to a leading private hospital in the state capital.

Published: 10th May 2021 11:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2021 11:33 PM   |  A+A-

covid 19, coronavirus

For representational purposes

By PTI

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has detected its first case of mucormycosis or 'black fungus' in a 71-year-old COVID patient with a known history of uncontrolled diabetes, officials said on Monday.

The patient, a resident of the Jajpur district, was admitted to a leading private hospital in the state capital.

He is on anti-diabetic and antifungal treatment, said Dr CBK Mohanty, the Director of Medical Education and Training.

"The patient is an uncontrolled diabetic and had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 20. He was in home isolation after testing positive and had reported swelling in eyes and blackish discharge from the nose on May 8," Mohanty said in a report that was prepared by him jointly with the Director of Public Health.

Nasal endoscopy of the patient showed black deposits on turbinate, stated a report by ENT surgeon Dr Radha Madhab Sahu.

"The patient has contracted mucormycosis or black fungus from old water in an air cooler and fungus growth in the damp pad.

The infection was during the home isolation and not in the hospital," the report said.

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While there is no history of gardening or farming, the patient's sample taken for microscopy is suggestive of fungal hyphae and the culture showed Rhizopus spp (mucorale).

His histopathology report is awaited, the joint report said. The patient is stable at present, it said.

In an official statement, the Health and Family Welfare Department said that the situation is being monitored and the treatment for mucormycosis is available in the state.

Conditions like HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, mellitus cancers, organ transplant, long-term corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy increase the risk of this disease and the predisposing factor for most of the cases prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.

It is rare in persons with normal immunity, the statement said.

Steroids, Tocilizumab and Itolizumab, among others, are used to reduce inflammation in the lungs for COVID-19 but they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

It's thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering factors in some cases of mucormycosis but still it is uncommon, the statement said.

Medicines such as Tocilizumab and Itolizumab should only be decided when required as these drugs can be dangerous, it suggested.

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