Mucormycosis – Bangladesh

Doctors have found mucormycosis in two patients at Birdem Hospital (Dhaka, Bangladesh), who recovered from COVID-19. This is the first report of this type of complication in this country.

One of the patients, aged 45, was detected with mucormycosis, on May 8 2021. The other, aged 60, was detected on May 23 2021.

Doctors at many health facilities in Bangladesh prescribe steroids for aged COVID-19 patients as a precaution and this seems to be linked to these two cases.

As is the case with India and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh has a climate that is conductive to growth of this fungus. Mucormycetes, the group of fungi that cause mucormycosis, are commonly found in soil. In Bangladesh they thrive best during summer and fall.

The department of health in Bangladesh is working on updated guidelines for preventing and treating the fungal infection.

Treatment consists of Amphotericin B for at least 4 to 6 weeks and possibly longer but also administered as fast as possible when detected. In this type of patients, surgery is often required to amputate necrotic tissue due to blood clots formed by the infection.

Please consider donating, to keep our safety stocks of Amphotericin B for treating this complication supplied. We send these when healthcare facilities run out. Shortages of this drug are bound to happen and mean death and amputations for those infected.

Photo: Mucor fungus species.

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection. Generally, species in the Mucor, Rhizopus, Absidia, and Cunninghamella genera are most often implicated.

Common sources of infections are from soil and damp walls on old buildings.

It can infect the sinuses and brain, lungs, skin and digestive tract. The infection in some cases also spreads through the bloodstream where it can result in the formation of blood clots and tissue death in the surrounding areas. Patients with this disease frequently need amputations due to necrotized tissue when blood clots form.

Mostly mucormycosis occurs with underlying conditions such as diabetes, HIV, lymphomas kidney failure and immunosuppressive therapy. However, in some cases infection is reported without any predisposing factors present.

It has been reported in association with COVID-19 and may be caused by treatment with corticosteroids.

It is a very rare infection. Hospital outbreaks are a risk where infection can spread through contaminated hospital linen.

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