Judicious steroid use, good control over diabetes is the key to control Black fungus


ANI, May 21, 2021, 5:58 PM IST

Source: ANI

As the number of mucormycosis or “black fungus” cases seen among Covid-19 patients is increasing, Dr. Naresh Trehan on Friday, May 21 emphasized that the key to controlling the “opportunistic fungus” is the judicious use of steroids and good control of diabetes.

Dr. Trehan said, “The first symptoms of Covid-19-associated Mucormycosis are pain/stuffiness in the nose, inflammation on the cheek, fungus patch inside the mouth, swelling in the eyelid, etc. It requires aggressive medical treatment.”

The fungal infection, which is caused by exposure to mucor mould that is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables, affects the brain, lungs, and sinuses and can be lethal to those suffering from diabetes and having compromised immune systems such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS.

The doctors assured that there was no cause for worry about this outbreak as it is treatable if detected on time.

AIIMS Director Dr. Guleria pointed out that there has been an increasing trend of rising in fungal infection in the last few weeks being seen among those recovering from COVID-19 with several states reporting an increase in the cases of black fungus. “The Covid-19-linked infection has claimed more than 7,000 lives in the country,” said Dr. Guleria.

Mucormycosis, said Dr Guleria, was also reported to some extent during the SARS outbreak in the year 2002. “Uncontrolled diabetes with COVID can also predispose to the development of Mucormycosis,” Dr. Guleria told ANI. “Steroid use has become much more in this Covid-19 wave and steroids given when not indicated in mild or early disease can cause a secondary infection. Those given high dose of steroids when not indicated can lead to high blood sugar levels and a high chance of Mucormycosis”, said AIIMS Director.

“We have to see how to prevent this outbreak. Three factors are very important- good control of blood sugar levels, those on steroids must monitor blood sugar levels regularly, and be careful about when to give steroids and their dosage”, said Dr Guleria. The AIIMS doctor also cautioned against fake news on the subject being circulated on social media. “There’re a lot of false messages going around that it can happen due to eating raw food but there is no data to suggest that. It also has nothing to do with the type of Oxygen being used. It is also being reported in people in home isolation.”

The Union Health Ministry, on Thursday, urged the states to make mucormycosis, a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. The central government made it mandatory for states to report both suspected and confirmed cases of mucormycosis to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). Cases of ‘black fungus’ infection are being reported in several parts of the country. States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already declared it a ‘notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, thereby making it mandatory to report every Mucormycosis case to the state government.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said there are 197 cases of black fungus in government and private hospitals till date in the national capital.

(Written with inputs from the agency.)

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