AIIMS Chief Cites Misuse of Steroids as Black Fungus Cases Rise Among Covid-19 Patients

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As new cases of blacks fungus, mucormycosis, has kept the health experts on tenterhooks, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria clarified that the fungal infection is not new, but has the cases have increased with Covid-19. Guleria said the ‘misuse’ of steroids is one of the major causes behind black fungus cases. Diabetic patients, covid patients and people who are on steroids are at a higher risk of contracting this fungal infection.

The black fungus infection, also known as mucormycosis, is caused by a fungus called mucor.

“This disease (Mucormycosis) can affect the face, infecting nose, orbit of eye, or brain, which can cause even vision loss. It can also spread to the lung,” Guleria said, adding that people should follow protocols of infection control practices at hospitals. “It is been seen that secondary infections, fungal & bacterial, are causing more mortality,” Guleria added.

Haryana on Saturday declared black fungus a notified disease in the state. Now, if a patient is diagnosed with black fungus in any government or private hospital of the state, it will have to be reported to the CMO of the concerned district so that appropriate steps can be taken to prevent the disease, health minister Anil Vij said.

Recently, several states have flagged cases of COVID-triggered mucormycosis, especially among patients who are diabetic. Major risk factors for this disease include uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, malignancy and voriconazole therapy, an ICMR-Health Ministry advisory stated.

Earlier this month, Niti Aayog member (health) V K Paul had ruled out an outbreak of COVID-triggered mucormycosis and said that the situation was being monitored.

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