Covid, diabetes, steroids fuelling black fungus outbreak: Study | India News

Covid, diabetes, steroids fuelling black fungus outbreak: Study | India News
MUMBAI: The “unholy trinity” of Covid-19, diabetes and steroids seems to be fuelling the present outbreak of mucormycosis across the country, but India has for long been the world’s worst hotspot for this black fungal infection.
“Mucormycosis is an uncommon fungal infection although India had the highest reported cases of mucormycosis in the world even before Covid-19,” said Kolkata-based endocrinologist Dr A K Singh who, along with Dr Shashank Joshi from Mumbai and Dr Anoop Misra from Delhi, published a paper on Friday on the reasons for the mucormycosis “escalation” in the country.
According to Dr Joshi, while endocrinologists would see a diabetic patient with mucormycosis once in two months, the pandemic changed that. “Now doctors are seeing multiple cases in a day,” said Dr Joshi, a member of the Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force.
For the article published in the medical journal ‘Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews’, the doctors reviewed medical literature until May 12, 2021, and found that the highest incidence was in India — 83 out of 101 cases across the world.
More than two-thirds of these patients had uncontrolled diabetes and two-thirds had received a course of steroid for Covid. These findings suggest control of diabetes and judicious use of steroid is necessary to reduce black fungal infection, they said.
Global prevalence of mucormycosis varies between 0.005 and 1.7 per million population, but its prevalence in India is nearly 80 times higher (0.14 per 1,000). “India has the highest cases of mucormycosis in the world,’’ said Dr Misra. Considering India is considered the diabetes capital of the world, it is not surprising.
However, Dr Misra believes the current situation at best could be called an escalation and not an epidemic. “For over 30 lakh Covid cases in India, there are 5,000 to 7,000 cases of mucormycosis. This is not as high as renal failure or even heart failure,” he said.

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