Ahmedabad has reported an increasing number of cases of a serious but rare fungal disease called mucormycosis. The disease has killed at least nine people at the city’s civil hospital so far.
Even as the country is battling with the Covid-19 pandemic, another outbreak of a deadly disease has put the authorities on high alert. Mucormycosis, a rare but deadly fungal disease, has been affecting an increasing number of people across India.
While hospitals in Delhi and Mumbai have reported some cases, Gujarat’s Ahmedabad has registered at least 44 cases of mucormycosis, out of which nine patients died.
What is mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment. The infection usually starts from the nose and spreads to eyes. While a quick diagnosis and treatment can cure the patient, left untreated, it can prove fatal.
As the infection spreads, it paralyses muscles around the pupils of the eye, leading to blindness. If the fungal infection spreads to the brain, the patient can get meningitis.
Scan of a patient suffering from mucormycosis
Who is at risk?
Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. This puts people recovering from Covid-19 or post-Covid issues at high risk. People with diabetes and health problems are also at high risk. In Ahmedabad, the majority of patients who have come to the civil hospital with mucormycosis had diabetes and were recovering from Covid-19. If you have swelling or pain in your nose and/or blurred eyesight, you should go to the doctor immediately.
How many cases of mucormycosis have been reported so far?
Two days ago, 12 cases were reported at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi. Cases have also been reported in Mumbai. Ahmedabad Civil Hospital has reported 44 cases of hospitalisation, including nine deaths, due to mucormycosis.
Dr Bela Prajapki, ENT head at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, said that all the cases registered so far were of patients who were more than 50 years of age and suffering from diabetes or other diseases.
“This infection is very dangerous and if treatment is not received timely, it can prove to be life-threatening,” Dr Bela said.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also recently tweeted about the disease and request people to stay alert.
“According to experts, there has been an increased risk of mucormycosis disease among people who have recovered from Kovid-19, which has led to many deaths. In this disease, there is a risk of damage to many organs of the body including the brain. An alert for the disease has been issued in Mumbai and Ahmedabad,” the Rajasthan CM said in a tweet.
What can you do?
Maintain good hygiene. Wear your mask at all public places and wash your hands regularly. Avoid touching your eyes and nose.
If you notice any swelling in your nose, eyes or throat, go to the doctor for a checkup. Early detection of mucormycosis is crucial to treatment.