Mucormycetes, the group of fungi that cause mucormycosis, are present throughout the environment, particularly in soil and in association with decaying organic matter, such as leaves, compost piles, and animal dung.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services, the USA informs, “These fungi aren’t harmful to most people. However, for people who have weakened immune systems, breathing in mucormycete spores can cause an infection in the lungs or sinuses which can spread to other parts of the body. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. It can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn, or other type of skin injury.”
Symptoms of Mucormycosis
· Sinusitis, blackish/bloody nasal discharge, pain on cheek bone.
· Pain on one side of the face, numbness/swelling, blackish discoloration over the bridge of nose/palate, loosening of teeth, blurred/double vision with pain, fever, breathlessness, skin lesion, blood clot and chest pain.
Dr. Subhrojyoti Bhowmick, Consultant Clinical Pharmacologist and Clinical Director, Peerless Hospital (Kolkata), informed BE, “Patients with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus who are also Covid infected are at higher risk, especially those patients who are on steroids. People who are not infected by coronavirus, they can also get mucormycosis such as - patients who had renal transplantation or liver transplantation who are receiving immunosuppressive medication."
“Mucormycosis has been present even before the Covid-19 pandemic. But to define an epidemic the incidents of the disease has to increase by two standard deviations. States like Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and Odisha have experienced this spike of mucormycosis cases, thus declared it as an epidemic. Government has already circulated guidelines in order to prevent further spread of the disease that must be followed. For treatment, rational anti-fungal therapy has to be used. As a risk management initiative, production of Amphotericin-B has also been increased.” – Dr. Bhowmick added.
Wearing mask and physical distancing are required to continue even by those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Wearing mask and cleanliness are also required while gardening. People should wear long pants and long sleeves shirts, covered shoes, hand gloves because the virus can enter through the breach of skin. People should care properly about brushing teeth, especially patients who are taking steroid inhaler.