Delhi hospital reports cases of lethal fungal infection in recovering COVID-19 patients

Delhi hospital reports cases of lethal fungal infection in recovering COVID-19  patients

Doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi recently encountered multiple cases of a lethal invasive fungal infection known as mucormycosis in recovering coronavirus patients due to which nearly half of them lost their eyesight, the authorities claimed.

The physicians said that at least 10 patients have come to the hospital in the last 15 days with  COVID-triggered mucormycosis. The hospital said four of the 10 patients have died while five patients lost their eyesight. Jaws and cheeks of the patients were affected.

“Mucormycosis or black fungus can be a cause of disease and death in transplant patients and immunodeficient individuals. However, the rapid increase in cases seen in recovering COVID-19 patients is causing grave concern,” the hospital said in a statement.

Symptoms of the disease include dry nose obstruction, swelling in the eye or cheeks, black dry crust in nose and numbness in the nose and cheeks. However, mucormycosis is not contagious and the fungus targets immuno-compromised people.

Once a patient is treated for COVID-19, they are immunosuppressed and hence it is highly important to consume more immunity-boosting food. Not getting exposed to polluted air and staying away from contaminated and damp surfaces will reduce the chances of the infection, recommends Dr Manish Munjal, senior ENT surgeon of the hospital.

One of the patients who was a 32-year-old man, after recovering from COVID-19, had developed an obstruction in his left nostril, followed by which his eye swelled up after two days. The patient did not respond to antibiotics or painkillers and started rapidly losing vision on the affected side. The left side of his face became numb and was brought to the emergency ward in a partially disoriented state. After the diagnosis of mucormycosis, he was operated upon and then put on critical support for over two weeks. He will be discharged soon but in a disfigured state, explained the hospital in the statement.

“The frequency with which we are witnessing occurrence of COVID-triggered mucormycosis with high morbidity and mortality has never been seen before and is shocking and alarming,” adds Dr Munjal.