All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria on Friday listed three factors important in the prevention of ‘black fungus’ or mucormycosis outbreak, prevalent in Covid-19 patients.
“Three factors are very important- good control of blood sugar levels, those on steroids must monitor blood sugar levels regularly, and be careful about when to give steroids and their dosage,” news agency ANI quoted Guleria saying as the Covid-linked infection claimed more than 7,000 lives in the country.
The AIIMS director also said that the mucormycosis was also seen to some extent during the Sars outbreak in 2002. “Uncontrolled diabetes with Covid can also predispose to the development of mucormycosis,” ANI further reported him as saying.
Amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, cases of mucormycosis have emerged in patients who were in the recovery phase of the disease. The fungal infection is more life-threatening and attacks those with weak immune systems.
Doctors suspect that the sudden surge in mucormycosis may be linked to the use of steroids to treat Covid-19. It can result in breathing problems and coughing blood. Other symptoms include blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision and chest pain.
Guleria also acknowledged that steroid use has become much more prevalent during the ongoing second wave of Covid-19. “Those given high doses of steroids when not indicated can lead to high blood sugar levels and a high chance of mucormycosis,” he said. Guleria called for judicious use of steroids.
On Thursday, many states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan declared mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Act after a letter from the Centre.
However, in the national capital, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the city government will declare mucormycosis an epidemic if the need arises. He also urged hospitals to use steroids in a controlled manner.