After doctors at a Delhi hospital found multiple cases of a deadly fungal infection in healing coronavirus patients, causing vision loss, the government on Tuesday said it was a “devastating disease” and people need to remain more cautious.
“This is a devastating disease, and the treatment is not easy. We have to be careful. This could be a mild disease, but it can also make a serious turn. This was also in the absence of Covid-19,” Dr. VK Paul , member, Health, NITI Aayog said in a press conference.
ENT surgeons at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital have experienced 13 cases of Covid-19-triggered mucomycosis or black fungus due to which almost half of the patients lost their sight, hospital authorities said on Monday.
Mucormycosis has been the cause of disease and death of patients in transplants, and ICU and immune-deficient individuals have long been. However, it is the rapid increase in the numbers seen in unsuspected recovering COVID-19 patients that is causing the major concern, the hospital said in a statement.
Mortality is currently about 50 percent (five patients), with some deaths when there is a brain involvement, authorities said.
One such case concerns a 32-year-old Covid-cured patient who was admitted to the emergency department of SGRH a few days ago in a partially disoriented state.
“MRI revealed that the infection had already destroyed a significant portion of his left lateral sinuses, eye, upper jaw and muscles, and even crossed into the brain. He later had to be put on the life-saving antifungal medication and essential support for critical care for more than 2 weeks. He will soon be fired in a survivable but disfigured state, ”said Dr Manish Munjal, a senior ENT surgeon, SGRH said.
“The frequency with which we witness the emergence of Covid triggered mucomycosis with high disease and mortality has never been seen before and is shocking and alarming,” said Dr Prakash Shastri, Vice President of Department of Critical Care, SGRH.
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