At least three cases of Covid-induced Black Fungus or Mucormycosis have occurred in Jharkhand in the past 48 hours and all three patients had to lose one eye during the course of treatment, doctors from Bhagwan Mahavir Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Ranchi, where the patients are undergoing treatment, said on Monday.
On Saturday, doctors at Medica had to surgically remove one eye of a 38-year-old man from Ramgarh who was suffering from Black Fungus after surviving a coronavirus infection.
Cut to Monday afternoon, doctors at the private healthcare facility were treating two more Covid survivors — a 40-year-old man from Ramgarh and a 60-year-old woman from Ranchi — after they developed Black Fungus.
“The cases (of Black Fungus) are likely to increase. Early detection is the only way to prevent severe complications in patients,” said Dr Anindya Anuradha, an Ophthalmologist at Medica who is treating all the patients of Black Fungus in the facility.
Mucormycosis, also called black fungus, is a rare infection caused by exposure to mucor mould found in soil, plants, manure and decaying fruits and vegetables. This infection usually affects the lungs, the nasal tract and the sinus of the patient and has a fatality rate of 50 per cent, say doctors.
“We have flushed out the nasal cavity of the two patients who came to us today. The fungus has already damaged one eye of both the patients and we may have to go for a surgery if their condition deteriorates,” Dr Anuradha said.
While the deadly fungus was less likely to get transmitted from one person to another, doctors say that it was occurring in Covid patients who had to be administered high doses of steroids during treatment.
Diabetic Covid patients who were administered high doses of steroids during treatment were particularly at higher risk, say doctors. In the absence of timely treatment, which in most cases is removal of the eye, the virus may infect the patient’s brain and cause death.
“Patients with immunocompromised diseases such as HIV were also more likely to get infected,” Dr Anuradha added.
Last year, cases of Covid-induced Black Fungus were reported in New Delhi and other parts of the country. However, this is the first time that Jharkhand has reported such cases since the entry of the virus in the state back in March 2020, say doctors.
With almost 78,000 cases of Covid-19 reported so far, Ranchi is the worst-affected district in Jharkhand in terms of caseload. Ramgarh, on the other hand, has reported over 11,000 Covid cases so far, highlights Government data.