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Mumbai on Tuesday reported a case of Mucormycosis, also known as Black Fungus, amid the third wave of COVID-19 and Omicron surge. The patient is a 70-year-old man who had reportedly tested positive on January 5. He was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai Central on January 12 after he started showing the first symptoms of the fungal infection such as swelling on his cheeks and around his eyelids as well as fatigue.
Doctors at Wockhardt Hospital said that he may need an elaborate debridement (removal of affected tissues) surgery on cheeks and around the eyes. However, the cause for mucormycosis this time is uncontrolled diabetes does not misuse of steroids, Dr Honey Savla, internal medicine specialist with Wockhardt Hospital, told a news agency.
According to Dr Savla, the patient has no pneumonia in his lungs and isn't on steroids. But his blood sugar level was 532 when he was brought to the hospital.
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that occurs when humans inhale the fungus called mucor which is present in the soil and organic matter, including animal dung, vegetable dust, leaves, and so on. This infection has been associated with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, and co-morbidities.
Most black fungus infections among COVID-19 patients have been linked to the overuse of steroids (such as dexamethasone) and the use of ventilators in ICUs. While prolonged use of steroids in COVID patients can compromise their immune system and reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens, use of ventilators may lead to exposure of airways to moisture and humidity, thereby making them prone to developing Mucormycosis.
The symptoms associated with black fungus include one-sided facial swelling, nasal blockage, nasal blood discharge, chest pain, headache, toothache, loosening of teeth, blurred vision or vision loss, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits, pain and inflammation in the eyes, nose, and jaws as well as altered mental status.
The Ministry of Health and Family Affairs had last year declared Black Fungus as a 'notifiable disease' under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. During the second Covid wave, the country has witnessed more than 40,000 cases of Mucormycosis, 741 in Mumbai. Over 85 per cent of the people who were diagnosed with the fungal infection had COVID-19.