The Threat Of Mucormycosis Amid Covid-19

Mucormycosis Explained

It is a rare but dangerous fungal infection that has a mortality rate of 50%, caused by the fungus micromycetes commonly found as mould in the soil, decay and manure. It is also found in the mucus and nose of healthy people.

Affects people with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer and much more. It affects the people who have a lower immune system or take medicines that affect the body’s ability to fight germs and sicknesses.

The initial effect is seen in the nose from where it spreads to the brain and can be treated by major surgery either by removing the eye or part of the skull or the jaw.

Symptoms to keep in check for the fungus

  • Swelling and pain in the eye;
  • Drooping eyelids;
  • Sinusitis – stuffy and bleeding nose;
  • Blackish discolouration over the bridge of the nose;
  • Chest pain, bloody vomits, coughing, headache;


A drug that is effective against the disease is an anti-fungal intravenous injection which costs around Rs.3500 per dose and has to administer every day for up to 8 weeks.

In some cases, the only way to prevent the disease from spreading is by surgery. Where eventually it leads to loss of the upper jaw or at times even an eye.

Prevention is better than Cure

  • Use of masks when visiting construction sites.
  • Wear shoes, long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and gloves while gardening.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Control diabetes, monitor sugar levels after Covid-19 treatments.
  • Reduce the use of steroids.
  • Hydrate adequately.
  • Discontinue immunomodulating drugs.

Black Fungus linked to Covid-19 in India

More than 7,200 people have been reported with the fungus and around 291 have lost their lives. The risk of mucormycosis in Covid-19 patients is due to the overuse of steroids in the treatment of coronavirus which can compromise the immune system if taken for long periods.

Another way of contracting the fungus by covid-19 patients was when people in ventilators had their airways exposed to humidity and moisture.

Five states, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana have declared the fungus as an epidemic.

Post Mucormycosis Surgery

Patients who have been operated on the jaw would have to come to terms with the loss of function – difficulty chewing, swallowing, self-esteem. But not to lose hope, whether it is the jaw or the eye, prosthetic replacement is possible by using artificial substitutes. This can be done once the patient stabilizes after surgery.

Dr B Srinivasan, a maxillofacial prosthodontist quoted that: “Prosthetic reconstruction can be effected after surgery, but interim solutions should be planned even before surgery of the jaws for better long-term outcomes. Prosthetic reconstruction can ensure that the cure is not more dreadful than the disease itself.

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