Mucormycosis cases are increasing, says AIIMs chief, pointing it towards misuse of steroids

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AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria on Saturday stated Mucormycosis, particularly known as the black fungus infection, happening to Covid-19 patients after recovery is not any new infection, but the number has been increasing with the infection spreading amid the Covid-19 infection and treatment. The spores of this specific fungus are prevalent in the air, in soil and sometimes in food, however, its virulence is low. Dr Guleria said, “So wearing the mask is very important, especially if you visit a construction site,” giving the figures of 23 patients affected with it in AIIMS Delhi, from which he said 20 patients also have Covid-19.

Guleria stated that a few states are recording around 400 to 500 new cases. He further emphasized on the hospitals to concentrate on infection control as the secondary fungal infection is leading to more morbidity and mortality.

Dr Guleria stated, “Mucormycosis was present before Covid also. During the 2003 SARS outbreak too, this infection was reported,” further adding that Covid-19 infection, diabetes, and the misuse of steroid amid the course of treatment are leading to more cases of the infection.

According to Dr Guleria, Mucormycosis was prominent among diabetic patients with uncontrolled blood pressure or for the susceptible ones undergoing transplants of chemotherapy when immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed, though Covid-19 has increased the incidence of the infection.

Mucormycosis can be of two types – one category which severely affects the face, nose and the region of brain responsible for eyesight causing loss of it and the second type where the infection is widespread to the lungs. Dr Guleria iterated that the single most crucial thing is early prevention.

In cases where the steroid misuse can be controlled and the patient is not having high blood sugar, then the probability of the fungal infection is less. Dr Guleria added the blood sugar level can be as high as 300 – 400 due to steroids and the mild to moderate dose of the steroid would be adequate and be consumed only for five to 10 days.

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