How long will the covid-19’s second wave last? When will third wave hit? Will it impact children hardest? Answers are hardest as the only thing that is certain is that everything about coronavirus is uncertain and unpredictable. This nature of the virus makes it tough to defeat and as such the preparedness remains the key against all the challenges thrown by it. Of late, the pandemic’s second wave has thrown up another serious challenge—mucormycosis, known as black fungus in common parlance.
Sending the gravity and in compliance to Health Ministry’s direction, many States and UTs have announced to classify mucormycosis as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. Jammu and Kashmir complied with it on Monday (May 24).
As a notifiable disease, all the Government and private health facilities, Medical Colleges are required to follow the guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of Mucormycosis, issued by the MoHFW (Gol)/ICMR/Government of J&K and makes it mandatory for all these facilities to report suspected and confirmed cases to Health Department. As the infection is caused by a group of bacteria moulds called mucormycetes, commonly found in the environment, the fungi are largely harmless under normal circumstances. However it becomes dangerous as in case of COVID-19 patients or those have immediately recovered from it, more so with uncontrolled diabetes and having large intake of steroid. Breathing in the fungi spores can cause an infection in the lungs or sinuses which can spread. Even when blood sugar is under control, indiscriminate steroid use can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, making such patients more susceptible to mucormycosis disease.
There is note of caution, especially for the medical practitioners in light of WHO’s strong recommendation that corticosteroids such as dexamethasone be used in treating patients with severe and critical COVID-19 patients and not in non-severe COVID-19 patients.
The authorities are better advised to issue guidelines to the doctors in using certain drugs whose indiscriminate use, such steroids, can prove to be dangerous.
While it should serve as wake-up call for Covid-19 patients and doctors to use steroids judiciously for a limited period and in the right dosage, especially in diabetic patients, controlling blood sugar levels using insulin can help prevent mucormycosis infection. Doctors say it is not a new disease and can be cured by surgical procedures. However it can be cured without even surgery if detected early. Thus precaution is very important and as such people with diabetes should ensure controlled sugar levels. Also it should prompt them to get vaccinated immediately to prevent covid-19 and as such subsequent steroids need.