The new looming health crisis has been described as “a nightmare within a pandemic”. Indian doctors are reporting an influx of cases of mucormycosis among people recovering from Covid-19. The very rare infection, also known as “black fungus”, is normally caused by exposure to mucoral mold.
The increase in ‘black fungus’ infections in India is believed to be linked to the use of steroids in critically ill Covid patients.
Some steroids have been shown to be effective in treating people with advanced symptoms of Covid.
They reduce inflammation in the lungs and prevent the body’s immune system from overworking when fighting the virus.
Doctors believe this drop in immunity could trigger an explosion in murcomycosis cases.
Dr Akshay Nair, a Mumbai-based eye surgeon, told the BBC’s Soutik Biswas: “Diabetes lowers the body’s immune defenses, the coronavirus exacerbates it, and then the steroids that help fight Covid-19 act as a fuel for the fire. “
He said that in April alone he had treated 40 patients with the fungal infection.
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“We are already seeing two to three cases a week here,” she explained.
“It’s a nightmare inside a pandemic. “