Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

There has been a surge in the cases of a black fungus infection, Mucormycosis, linked with Covid-19. This infection has become a grave matter of concern, that requires prompt medical attention. Patients who already have underlying conditions, like diabetes, are more susceptible to the infection. Infected patients are at the risk of developing eye problems, palate and even risk death, if not treated in time. To save the lives of such patients, Global Hospitals Panel has formed a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) consisting of ENT, infectious diseases specialist, critical care, physician, and endocrinologist, who would jointly treat mucormycosis patients. The hospital has launched Mumbais first Mucormycosis clinic, to offer comprehensive and planned care for the patients. Also Read – Coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from China lab: WHO
64-year-old patient, Suman Pitambar Mahale from Dhule, Maharashtra got infected with the coronavirus in 2020. After recovering from the infection, she had a runny nose, but it was dismissed as a minor cold by the local doctor. She took the medicine but to no relief. After 2 months, she was diagnosed with sinonasal mucormycosis, which is a rare opportunistic infection of the sinuses. She was operated on for sinonasal Mucormycosis by Dr Milind Navalakhe, Senior Consultant ENT Surgeon at Global Hospital, Parel. Along with surgery, she was treated with antifungal medications by Dr Vasant Nagvekar, Infectious disease specialist at Global Hospital. After the treatment, the patient is happily back with her family and has resumed her normal routine. Also Read – 42% Indians willing to pay up to Rs 500 for a Covid-19 vaccine shot: Survey
Low Immunity Levels Increases The Risk Of Mucormycosis After COVID
The low immunity caused by the COVID 19 infection, along with diabetes mellitus made Mrs Shaila Sonar, from Dhule, interior Maharashtra, more susceptible to the rare and serious fungal infection, Mucormycosis. Also Read – India vaccinates over 2 lakh beneficiaries in a day, becomes the fastest to reach 6 million-mark
Mucorales is the largest and best-studied order of zygomycete fungi, which are sometimes called pin moulds. This rare fungal infection destroys bone and invades blood vessels. It spreads aggressively from the nose to palate to the orbits and the brain. In Sonars case, the fungal infection was present in her nose, paranasal sinuses, and palate. The infection was so aggressive, that even after four surgeries performed outside Global Hospital, it continued to persist.
This led to the patients eventual consultation on December 1, 2020. Surgery along with appropriate anti-fungal therapy followed. Sonar was operated on and half of her palate was removed in the process of clearing the fungal infection. Her eyes were saved due to timely and precise surgical intervention. Post-operation, she underwent anti-fungal therapy and rehabilitation. She was discharged 21 days after her admission.
Mucormycosis: Understanding The Rare Fungal Disease
Dr Milind Navalakhe, ENT Surgeon, Global Hospitals, Parel said, Mucormycosis is a fungal disease, that usually occurs in patients with a compromised immune status. I have treated a substantial number of diabetic patients with this fungal infection, even before COVID era. In the early 90s, only one to two patients would visit me for treatment of this infection. But in the last 25 years, around 25-30 patients receive treatment for the condition every year. Now, within 1-3 months of post-COVID recovery, around 50 low-immunity patients, with diabetes and on steroids, got this fungal infection.
Dr Navalakhe added, Unfortunately, it does not cause significantly different symptoms than a cold or nasal block. Initially, blackish discolouration on the inside of the nose and palate is seen. Hence, it goes unnoticed to an advanced stage. By the time the patients seek medical attention, it is already in the advanced stage called sinonasal mucormycosis. It mainly starts in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses, involving the nose. It then becomes rhino-orbital, wherein the eyes are involved. Eventually, it becomes rhino-cerebral, with the involvement of the brain. Many of patients realize the need for medical intervention when there is palatal involvement. This harmful disease usually starts in the sinuses and then proceeds to the eyeball, the palate, and the brain, destroying the structure. This infection kills tissues causing necrosis. Treatment requires the removal of dead tissues and even the tissues surrounding it, to curb the spread of the infection.”
Early Diagnosis And Treatment Is Key
Early diagnosis is imperative to start treatment early. Early debridement produces optimal results and prevents morbidity and mortality. It is also necessary to get diabetes under control to reduce the chances of the infection. To prevent the devastation caused by the infection, be alert and seek immediate treatment. Our newly launched clinic, will be a boon for the patients by diagnosing and treating them, ultimately helping to improve their quality of life,” said Dr Vasant Nagvekar, HOD – Infectious diseases, Global Hospital, Parel.
After recovering from COVID-19, I felt pain in my eyes, had a nasal blockage, headache, numbness around the face, nose, and teeth, and reduced smell. Initially, I ignored these symptoms, dismissing them as post-COVID issues. But slowly there was a change in my voice and breathing. I visited various medicos but failed to get any relief. I thank Global Hospital, Mumbai, for saving my vision and life. My symptoms have disappeared, after the prompt treatment given by the doctors. I urge people to go for follow-up health checks on a regular basis, post-Covid,” said patient Shaila Sonar.
COVID Infections Make You More Susceptible To Such Infections
As COVID compromises the immune system, fungal infections easily afflict elderly patients and those with comorbidities. We have set up a Multidisciplinary team to cull the infection at the root, by managing pre-existing conditions like diabetes. The MDT will conduct an all-round evaluation of the patient, taking timely steps to prevent the spread of the infection. The team of experts is also well-equipped to handle any complications and advanced cases of invasive fungal infections, concluded Dr Vivek Talaulikar, CEO-Global Hospitals, Mumbai.