Mucormycosis – India

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Update: India is currently (24 May 2021) reporting 5424 cases of Mucormycosis or black fungal infection in 18 states.

Out of a total of 5424 cases, 4556 patients have history of COVID-19 infection, with 55% of the patients having diabetes.

States Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already declared it a notifiable disease and are keeping track of the cases.

There is a risk of hospital outbreaks with transmission between patients, eg through contaminated bed-linen.

Doctors at many health facilities prescribe steroids for aged COVID-19 patients as a precaution and this seems to be linked to this complication.

Countries in Asia have climates that are conductive to growth of this fungus. Mucormycetes, the group of fungi that cause mucormycosis, are commonly found in soil samples. They thrive best during summer and fall.

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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