HYDERABAD: The abuse of steroids and unregulated use of antibiotics for Covid-19 patients has now given rise to another deadly condition called mucormycosis or black fungus.
At least 70 such cases have been detected in two major corporate hospitals in Hyderabad. Nearly six of them have died with the resulting complications.
“Mucormycosis is a very serious and life-threatening infection with a mortality rate of 40- 60 per cent. It is affecting Covid patients and pushing them back into operation theaters and ICUs. If not recognised, it starts spreading in a few days,” said Dr Ram Babu, Senior ENT Consultant at Apollo Hyderabad.
He said, at their tertiary care centre, in the last one month, they have seen more than 50 mucormycosis cases, out of which 16 patients are showing good progress, six have died and the remaining are in ICUs and wards.
“Swelling around the eyes, one-sided facial or eye pain, decreased sensation over cheeks, blood-stained nasal discharge, among others are symptoms of mucormycosis infection and such cases should be immediately reported for medical attention,” said Dr Dushyanth Ganesuni, Consultant, ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon & Laryngologist, Continental Hospitals, where five cases came forth in the last one month.
Both these specialists note that early recognition of symptoms is crucial.
There is only a 48-hour gap to begin treatment for this deadly disease and due to shortage of beds everywhere, patients are not getting treatment on time.
The issue is essentially arising due to overuse of corticosteroid.
“The unjustified and self-prescribed use of antibiotics and steroids to treat Covid-19 symptoms is dangerous. Such a practice affects the immune system and could lead to secondary infections like mucormycosis,” added Dr Ganesuni.
Doctors are also urging the pharma sector and the administration to urgently address logistical issues for the supply of antifungals used to treat mucormycosis as it is likely that in the coming month, the situation will worsen.
“In April, it had become very difficult to procure Remdesivir but the situation has relatively become more coordinated with efforts across India. It’s time the same process starts again to address mucormycosis,” added Dr Rao.