- Sudik Biswas
- BBC News, Indian correspondent
On Saturday morning, Dr Akshay Nair, an eye surgeon living in Bombay, prepared to operate on a 25-year-old woman who had recovered from a Kovit-19 infection three weeks ago.
Already in surgery, the diabetic was treated by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
The specialist inserted a tube into a nostril and removed the tissue affected by the myormomycosis, A rare fungal infection Y Dangerous Severely attacks the nose, eyes and sometimes the brain.
At that rate, a three-hour procedure will be followed, by Dr. Nair, to remove one eye.
“I catch his eye To save his life. This is how the disease works, “Dr. Nair told me.
In the midst of the deadly second wave of the deadly Kovit-19 in India, doctors are reporting a series of so-called “black fungus” among patients who have already recovered or are in it.
This week, Indian officials asked 29 states in the country Report an infection The alarming increase in cases and the situation in each area can be monitored.
What is myormomycosis?
Mucormycosis is a very rare infection caused by fungal exposure in the mucoral family commonly found in soil, plants, manure and rotting fruits and vegetables.
“It is found everywhere and in the ground and in the air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people,” says Nair.
It affects the sinuses, brain and lungs and is life threatening for people with severe immune deficiencies such as diabetics or cancer patients or those living with HIV / AIDS.
Doctors believe that myrgomycosis with an overall mortality rate of 50% may be triggered by infection Steroid use, Life-saving treatment for critically ill Kovit-19 patients.
Steroids Covit-19 have been shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs and to help prevent some of the damage that can occur when the immune system is boosted to fight the corona virus.
But they lower the immune system and raise blood sugar levels Patients with diabetes and non-diabetics Who contracts Govt-19.
It is believed that this weakening of the immune system may be the cause of these cases of myormomycosis.
“Diabetes lowers the body’s immune defenses, the corona virus boosts them, and then steroids are activated to help fight Govt-19. Fuel for the fire “, Nair explains.
“It’s a dream in an epidemic”
A doctor working at three hospitals in Bombay, one of the cities most affected by the second wave, says he had already seen about 40 patients with the fungal infection in April.
Many of them are diabetics and they have recovered from COVID-19 at home. One in 11 of them had to be surgically removed.
Between December and February, only six of his colleagues in 58 cities (Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune) recorded 58 infections. Most patients are affected within 12 to 15 days of recovery from Govit-19.
The busy Zion Hospital in Bombay has reported 24 cases of yeast infection in the last two months, compared to the approximately six cases reported each year, said Dr Renuka Bradu, head of the ear, nose and throat unit. Center
11 of them lost their eyesight and six died. Most of his patients were middle-aged diabetics, who were attacked by the fungus two weeks after they recovered from Govit-19.
“Here, we already see two or three cases a week. It’s a dream within an epidemic,” the expert told me.
“This year is different”
In the southern city of Bangalore, ophthalmologist Dr. Raghuraj Hegde tells a similar story.
You have seen 19 cases of myormomycosis in the last two weeks, most of them Young patients. “We were unable to perform the surgery because some people were very unwell.”
Doctors say they were surprised by the severity and frequency of this fungal infection during the second wave, compared to some cases during the first wave last year.
Nair says he has not faced more than 10 cases in Bombay in the last two years. “This year is different,” he says.
In Bangalore, Dr. Hegde has not seen more than one or two cases a year in practice for more than a decade.
Patients infected with these fungi usually have symptoms such as nasal congestion and bleeding, swelling and pain in the eyes, eyelids, blurred vision and subsequent loss.
There may also be black spots of skin around the nose.
Doctors say most of them are Patients arrive late, When they are already losing their vision, the eye must be surgically removed to prevent infection to the brain.
In some cases, patients have lost vision in both eyes. In more rare cases, doctors may need to block the jaw bone The disease is contagious.
Take care of the sugar level
The only effective medicine against the disease is a fungal injection, which costs a dose of Rs. 3,500 (US $ 48) and must be administered every day for eight weeks.
One way to stop the possibility of yeast infection is to ensure that those on treatment and those who have recovered are given COVID-19. The right amount of steroids At the right time, Mumbai-based diabetes expert Rahul Baxi explains.
The expert notes that last year he treated about 800 diabetics with Govit-19, none of whom developed a fungal infection. “Doctors need to pay attention The amount of sugar After the patients were discharged, ”Dr. Paxie told me.
“The variant of the virus appears to be a virus, which raises blood sugar to a very high level. And, strangely enough, the fungal infection affects many young people,” says Dr. Hegde.
His youngest patient last month was a 27-year-old man who did not even have diabetes. “In the second week of Govt-19 we had to operate on him and take his eye out of him. It would be very devastating.”
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