Cases of mucormycosis are rising among COVID-19 survivors, causing blindness or serious illness and even death in some cases. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Monday announced to provide free treatment to patients with the fungal infection.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, "In some districts of the state, COVID-19 survivors are suffering from a fungal disease called mucormycosis. The health department has taken serious note of it. An awareness campaign will be launched and patients with mucormycosis will be treated free of cost under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana."
Tope said patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to have symptoms of fungal disease. He said dark spots are found near the nose and lips. He added that if the disease is not treated early, it can have adverse effects on the respiratory system, brain and eyes.
The Health Minister noted that the cost of medicines to treat mucormycosis is expensive and hence, the patients will be treated free of cost in 1000 hospitals under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana.
He further said the patients should not be frightened and those who have diabetes should keep it under control. The health minister has also urged the patients to exercise, have a proper diet and take medication on the advice of doctors.
What is mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection that is one of the post-coronavirus complications which has been observed in patients. It is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens.
How to prevent?
1. Use masks if you are visiting dusty construction sites.
2. Wear shoes, long trousers, long sleeve shirts and gloves while handling soil (gardening), moss or manure.
3. Maintain personal hygiene including thorough scrub bath.
1. Control hyperglycemia.
2. Monitor blood glucose level post COVID-19 discharge and also in diabetics.
3. Use steroid judiciously – correct timing, correct dose and duration.
4. Use clean, sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy.
5. Use antibiotics/antifungals judiciously.
1. Do not miss warning signs and symptoms.
2. Do not consider all the cases with blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly in the context of immunosuppression and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators.
3. Do not hesitate to seek aggressive investigations, as appropriate (KOH staining & microscopy, culture, MALDITOF), for detecting fungal etiology.
4. Do not lose crucial time to initiate treatment for mucormycosis.