Doctors in Ahmedabad have now reported a rare fatal fungal infection that is preying on COVID-19 patients and also on those who have recently recovered. In the last 10 days, Gangaram Hospital witnessed 10 patients with Mucormycosis out of which there were fatalities of 5 patients, with loss of eyesight, removal of nose and jawbones.
A rare but serious fungal infection, Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds called mucormycetes, which can enter the body through the air (via fungal spores) or the skin through a skin injury. Black Fungus or Mucormycosis has been a cause of disease and deaths in Transplants, ICU and Immunodeficient individuals for a long time. However, it is the rapid increase in numbers seen in recovering COVID-19 patients which is a cause of alarm. Mucormycosis can’t spread between people or between people and animals.
Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. Amongst the symptoms, the persisting nose infection, stuffy dry nose and crusting, numb cheeks, redness of eyes, abdominal pain, loosening of teeth due to weakening of jaws, bleeding in the nose, eye movement restriction and lung problems are immediate causes which need medical attention. All the patients had enlarged eyeballs that were bulging out of the eye sockets. As per the report, two patients have already died while two surviving patients have lost their eyesight.
Before COVID-19 infection, mucormycosis takes around 15-30 days to spread but after contracting COVID-19, the spread occurs within just 2-3 days. Elderly, diabetics and those with low immunity are most prone to contract the fungal infection. It’s contagious from contact and touch of contaminated surfaces and infected mouldy objects. Following a hygienic lifestyle, washing hands and disinfecting surfaces may aide as a precaution.