Covid has been making deeper inroads into urban and rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir along with most parts of India. The pestilence has claimed many lives, around 900 people alone in Jammu and Kashmir in little over a fortnight. Around 70000 people have been infected during the time also.
The virus has been ravaging even as 70%-80% of those affected with it recover on their own without many side-effects. About 20%-30% of patients affected with symptomatic Covid-19 might require hospitalization. Among them, the condition of some can get worse and require treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU). Worst case scenario has been for the people with comorbidities such those having uncontrolled diabetes, heart or respiratory diseases and malignancies. Older age and obese people do not fare good either.
Amid all this, there is new fear— contracting a severe disease–mucormycosis. Also known as ‘black fungus’, is not any new infection but the number of cases has increased due to Covid-19 in India, according to the Director AIIMS Randeep Guleria who also warned against the spread of the “rare but dangerous fungal infection.”
As per experts, at higher risk of contracting the disease are those having poor immunity, uncontrolled diabetes. Other risk factors include steroid treatment and among other people prone to it are those having malignancies, HIV/AIDS and those who have been treated with medicines such as deferoxamine for iron overload conditions.
This disease as per the experts can affect the face, infecting nose, orbit of eye, or brain, which can even cause blindness.
Other forms of the fungus include the pulmonary form in which the lungs are mainly involved and less commonly disseminated mucormycosis, where it spreads throughout the body.
Government of India, in an advisory issued on May 9, said the black fungus may turn fatal if uncared for. It also said the infection mainly affects people who are on medication that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens.
With Covid-19 cases increasing, it’s paramount that protocols of infection control practices are followed at hospitals. Scrupulous hygiene and care of the equipment inside the ICU should be done in order to reduce the risk of fungal and other infections.
It is also very important for those with diabetes to keep their sugar levels under very good control. If steroids have to be used, their judicious use is recommended and for as short a period of time as possible, strictly at the advice of the doctors.