The black fungus infection is not a new infection but the number of cases has suddenly increased because of COVID-19 and its treatment, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria told ANI on May 15.
The doctor further said that misuse of steroids is a major cause behind this mucormycosis infection.
"Chances of fungal infection increase in the patients who are diabetic, COVID positive & are taking steroids. To prevent it, we should stop the misuse of steroids," he said.
He also said that these fungal and bacterial infections are causing more mortality.
Also Read: Mucormycosis/ Black Fungus infection: What it is, symptoms, preventive methods, and more
The doctor further said spores of this fungal infection are present in the air, in soil and sometimes in food.
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"Mucormycosis spores are found in soil, air & even in food. But they're of low virulence & usually don't causes infection. There were very few cases of this infection before COVID. Now a large number of cases are being reported due to COVID," he said.
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He said that, "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."
Dr Guleria said currently AIIMS Delhi have 23 cases of the infection. Out of these, 20 patients are still infected with COVID-19 while rest are negative.
"Many states have reported more than 500 cases of Mucormycosis," Dr Guleria said.
Medical Director Dr Suresh Kumar from LNJP Hospital, Delhi has also said that overuse, misuse and rampant use of steroids in COVID patients causes black fungus.
"We have 4 patients here who also are diabetic. Quite often a patient dies due to black fungus instead of COVID-19," the doctor said.
"Steroid use must be reduced. If given to patient with O2 level over 90, black fungus is a possible side-effect. Early diagnosis critical. CT scan of face would detect this infection. Antifungal drug Amphotericin being used for treatment," Dr Kumar said.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens. Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from the air.Also Read: Mucormycosis fungal infections maiming COVID-19 survivors in India: All you need to know about this 'black fungus'