A civic health worker collects a swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at Dadar station. File pic/Ashish Raje
Mucormycosis - the most dreaded fungal infection seen in the second wave - has so far been mild during this wave, said doctors amid sporadic cases. As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation data, there have been a total 987 mucormycosis cases in Mumbai till date, of which 205 patients succumbed to the infection. The city presently has four active cases of mucormycosis; one in a public hospital and three in a private hospital.
Dr Milind Navlakhe, ENT surgeon, Global Hospitals, who has seen two cases recently, said, "One of the patients I saw was a 60-year-old who had a blood sugar of 600. While he had mucormycosis, there was no confirmation on whether he had Covid-19. He got operated elsewhere. The other patient only came to the OPD and didn*t follow up."
He said it is too early to comment on mucormycosis cases in the third wave. "In both the waves, mucormycosis patients came after two-three months. In the third wave, we have not seen much hospitalisation and use of steroids. We are hoping there won*t be many mucormycosis cases," said Dr Navlakhe. Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central is presently treating a 70-year-old man who tested positive for Covid-19 on January 5 and was admitted to the hospital on January 12 with blood sugar as high as 532. His nasal swab tested positive for mucormycosis.
In the pre-Covid era, mucormycosis was known to be a rare serious fungal infection seen in patients with poor immunity. It is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment. Mucormycosis is said to invade the facial bones, the eye orbits and can sit in the brain. It has a 70 per cent mortality rate. Surgery and antifungal injections are two treatment options which involve 3-4 weeks of hospitalisation.
Dr Shashikant Mhashal, associate professor, ENT, RN Cooper Hospital, who has treated many mucormycosis cases in the second wave, said they are presently treating one patient but the person wasn*t found to be positive in the third wave. "In the third wave, we haven*t seen any cases. Hoping it stays the same way. People should be aware of the symptoms and take medical help if they see the symptoms," he said. In May, when the second wave of Covid-19 was raging, the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs had declared mucormycosis or black fungus as a ânotifiable disease* under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.