Covid, what we know about “black fungus” infections among diabetics

Covid, what we know about “black fungus” infections among diabetics
Covid, what we know about “black fungus” infections among diabetics

As the epidemiological curve in India continues to grow, recording record coronavirus positive rates, hospitals – close to collapse – are dealing with a suspicion (albeit mild) increase in cases of “black fungus”, a very dangerous infection, technically called mucormycosis, which it seems to mainly affect diabetics that have recovered after getting sick with Covid and can lead to death.

What is mucormycosis?

The mucormicosi it is a very rare infection, caused by exposure of the mucosa to mold commonly found in soil, plants, manure and rotting fruits and vegetables. It affects the chest, brain and lungs and can be life-threatening in people with diabetes the gravely immunocompromessi (such as cancer patients or people with HIV / AIDS).

People with diabetes have slightly weakened immune systems, which means they already have an rhigh risk of contracting black fungus. If the same test positive for Covid, then, with the ability of the virus to affect the body, the risk of contracting mucormycosis increases considerably. Diabetics also have high blood sugar levels, which is an environment in which the fungus thrives.

Covid and “black fungus” infections among diabetics: the possible causes

Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critical Covid-19 patients.

Steroids reduce inflammation of the lungs for Covid and appear to help stop some of the damage that can occur when the body’s immune system goes under. overdrive to fight the virus. However, they also reduce immunity and increase blood sugar levels in both diabetics and moles non-diabetic but Coronavirus positive patients. It is therefore thought that this drop in immunity can trigger cases of mucormycosis.

For now thereMost black fungus infections have been found in India but, although not as many cases have been reported in other countries, experts believe that all people with diabetes should take precautions to protect themselves at this time.

What’s happening in India

Why is the risk of getting sick with mucormycosis after being healed from Covid in Inidia greater? Doctors and scientists have tried to answer this question, coming to the conclusion that it may be a genetic factor.

In fact, India has the latter highest diabetic population in the world which, according to the International Diabetes Foundation, amounts to 70.2 million people. Diabetes sufferers in India are therefore more vulnerable to infections due to a risk related to their genetic background.

Doctors say they are surprised by the severity and frequency of this infection, which manifested more abruptly during the second wave.

The crowded Sion Hospital in Mumbai, for example, reported 24 cases of fungal infection in the past two months. A number that, compared to six cases per year, has quadrupled. According to Dr. Renuka Bradoo, head of the hospital wing, most infections have been found on the nose and throat, particularly in middle-aged diabetics who were affected by the fungus two weeks after recovering from Covid.

Eleven of the hospitalized patients lost an eye, six died.

In the southern city of Bengaluru, Dr. Raghuraj Hegde, an eye surgeon, told a similar story to the BBC. He saw 19 cases of mucormycosis in the past two weeks: “Some were so sick that we couldn’t even operate on them.”

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