New Delhi: Doctors treating COVID-19 patients are seeing cases of mucormycosis, a rare but severe fungal infection, in various parts of the country including the national capital. COVID-19 triggering rare Mucormycosis fungal infection. Alarmingly, the survival rate for COVID-19 patients who contract mucormycosis is 50%, and it has a debilitating impact on survivors including possible loss of vision.
In Ahmedabad, five cases of the fungal infection have been recorded among patient who was fighting the coronavirus or had recently recovered from the illness.
Of these two deaths, both had lost their eyesight.
Mucormycosis is also being seen among COVID-19 patients in Delhi, with a 50% mortality rate reported by the city's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Mucormycosis, which was previously known as zygomycosis, is an uncommon but serious fungal infection triggered by a group of moulds called mucormycosis which are found throughout the environment.
People with underlying health conditions or those who take medicines that stem the body's ability to fight sickness are most susceptible to this infection. This includes patients with severe diabetes.
While the infection can occur in any part of the body, it most commonly affects the lungs or the sinuses on inhaling fungal spores from the air.
Shri Ganga Ram Hospital had shared the example of a 32-year-old businessman from West Delhi, who contracted the infection after testing positive for COVID-19.
He was discharged from the hospital after seven days with a COVID negative test, with no requirement for oxygen. However, a "nagging left side nose obstruction, which rapidly became an eye swelling in a matter of 2 days" made him seek medical care again.
Antibiotics and painkillers which were given to him had no positive impact and "he started rapidly losing vision on the affected side".
A joint team of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and eye surgeons at Ganga Ram Hospital managed to save his life, but he continues to be on antifungal medication and critical care support.