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Coronavirus drug raises risk of grim death from fungal infection

Dec 17, 2020

Doctors in India raised the alarm over a surge in cases of an extremely rare and deadly fungal infection affecting recovered Covid-19 patients.

The mortality rate of those infected is estimated to be more than 50 per cent.

Hospital authorities say at least 40 cases of what doctors are calling Covid-19-triggered Mucormycosis were detected in Delhi and the western city of Ahmedabad, about 20 of them in December.

There is growing concern over the use of cortisol steroids, commonly used around the world for Covid-19 patients to suppress the immune system.

Mucormycosis, or black fungus, is caused by mucormycetes fungal spores that are naturally present in soil and air.

These fungal spores can enter the human body through the respiratory tract, sinuses or skin. These fungi do not cause harm to most people, those with weak immune system are highly vulnerable.

If an infection gets out of control, the fungi invade tissue cells and can damage the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, sinuses and brain, leading to horrific symptoms including severe hemorrhaging.

Experts say weakened immunity, lung damage and use of cortisol steroids for treating the Covid-19 disease leaves recovered patients vulnerable to the Mucormycosis infection.

The current wave of infections is showing a high prevalence among the elderly, those with diabetes and those whose immune systems are compromised.

New Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram hospital says 13 patients were admitted in the past 15 days, with five losing their eyesight or nose and jawbones, while five people died.

By Yazdaan Khan

 

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