Parvesh Dubey, a coronavirus patient, died in just one week after contracting a black fungus, the latest victim of a horrific complication of COVID-19 that ravaged India.
Thousands of people have developed the fungus in recent weeks in a wave of infections blamed on overuse of steroids to treat millions of COVID patients in the country, according to experts.
Previously, very rarely, mucormycosis, as is scientifically known, is very aggressive and surgeons sometimes have to remove patients ’eyes, nose and jaw to prevent it from reaching the brain. The mortality rate exceeds 50%.
Dubey, 33, was being treated for coronavirus in the central state of Madhya Pradesh before doctors took him to a different hospital after the fungus was detected and his condition worsened.
“Doctors there operated on his nose and jaw. One of his eyes was already damaged and the doctor said they were working to save the other,” a relative told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Dubey’s family members in different states of India struggled to get medicines and take them to him asking the bus passengers to transport them to Madhya Pradesh, but it was too little, it was too late.
“We lost him in a week. We did our best with the available resources,” the relative said.
India usually deals with less than 20 black fungus cases a year, but there are now several thousand across the country, including more than 2,000 in the state of Maharashtra, where India’s financial capital, Mumbai, is located.
At least nine Indian states have declared the problem an epidemic. The cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore have opened special halls.
Indian media reports suggest that hundreds of people have died in recent days.
Authorities have not said how many have perished nationwide, but a government alert to state authorities has called for teams of surgeons and specialists to be prepared to step up cases.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, only those with severely compromised immunity, such as HIV or organ transplant patients, were at risk.
The current rapid increase in fungal cases is largely attributed to the uncontrolled use of steroids to treat coronavirus patients.
“People have started using (steroids) in a liberal, excessive and inappropriate way,” Professor K. Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India told AFP.
He said contaminated water in oxygen cylinders or air humidifiers also provided an opportunity for the fungus to spread quickly.
Bhartiben Shah complained of severe headaches after receiving steroids for 12 days and then developed a swollen eye, his son said.
“An MRI showed a spot, but it was not clear if it was a black fungus. But we admitted her to the hospital shortly afterwards,” Smit Shah, 25, told AFP.
A biopsy confirmed the infection and it has now been 10 days since Bhartiben was admitted.
“I’m helpless, but I just hope it gets better,” he said.
Despair on social media
When the numbers of coronavirus cases began to explode across India in March and April, social media it was flooded with desperate pleas for medical oxygen, hospital beds and drugs from families with sick relatives.
Now Indians, including Shah, are once again turning to social media in search of drugs to treat black fungus.
Most of the requests correspond to liposomal injections of amphotericin B. The Indian Minister of Health said on Thursday that it was increasing the production of shots.
“There should have been a faster response — both at the state and central level — in terms of recognizing the problem, the possibility of it becoming a serious problem, and of giving appropriate advice not only on prevention, but on also treatment “. Said Professor Reddy.
Amulya Nidhi, a health activist in Madhya Pradesh, said the government had not previously prepared an adequate supply of coronavirus medications like remdesivir and plasma, and then they didn’t learn the lesson by doing the same with antifungal medications.
“The government should have acted when it learned of the first (fungus) case … People are not supposed to ask for life-saving drugs “.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Deadly fungus causes COVID neighborhoods in India (2021, May 21) recovered on May 21, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-deadly-fungus-stalks-india-covid .html
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