HYDERABAD: Calling mucormycosis “a very serious and life-threatening infection with mortality rate of 40–60 per cent,” Dr. K. Rambabu, senior ENT Consultant, Apollo Hospitals, says the disease is striking Covid patients and pushing them back into operation theatres and ICUs.
“Working at a tertiary care centre during last one month, we have seen more than 50 mucormycosis cases. Six of these patients have died, 28 are battling it out in ICUs and wards, while 16 are showing good progress,” Dr Rambabu stated.
According to him, Mucormycosis starts spreading within days if not recognised and treated at early stages, ideally within the first 48 hours. Treatment includes aggressive surgery and long term follow-up along with anti-fungal medications. Cost of such medicines runs into lakhs for prescribed quantity and duration.
The ENT consultant said the primary reason for exponential rise of this fungal infection among Covid patients is excessive usage of steroids. “Steroids are leading to extremely uncontrolled sugar levels, enabling Black Fungi to grow, multiply and invade at rapid rate. Though usage of steroids is invariably necessary on many occasions, its dosage and duration needs reconsideration, especially among diabetic patients.
He said the entire supply chain of medicines for this condition stands disrupted. Pharma companies are unable to provide in-time medication to patients being treated in smaller hospitals, as they are not even aware of the need.