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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 535-538

COVID-19 and mucormycosis: A black fungus disaster?


1 Department of Microbiology, NC Medical College and Hospital, Israna, Haryana, India
2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Suchira Chillana
Department of Microbiology, NC Medical College and Hospital, Israna, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijd.ijd_17_22

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been associated with a wide range of opportunistic bacterial and fungal infections. Recently, several cases of mucormycosis in people with COVID-19 have been increasingly reported worldwide, in particular in India. 1. To study the total prevalence of mucormycosis and other fungal species in patients' samples. 2. To elaborate on the associated underlying risk factors and their presentations with COVID-19. The study was conducted at the Department of Microbiology, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College from April 2021 to July 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both outpatient and admitted cases were included in the study suspected of mucormycosis with underlying COVID-19 infection or post-recovery phase. In total, 906 nasal swab samples were collected at the time of the visit from suspected patients and were sent to the microbiology laboratory of our institute for processing. Both microscopic examinations by preparing a wet mount with KOH and lactophenol cotton blue stain and culture using Sabouraud's dextrose agar (SDA) were done. Subsequently, we analyzed the patient's clinical presentations at a hospital, associated comorbidities, site of mucormycosis infection, past history for use of steroids or oxygen therapy, admissions required, and its outcome in patients with COVID-19. In total, 906 nasal swabs from suspected cases of mucormycosis in people with COVID-19 were processed. In all, 451 (49.7%) fungal positivity was seen, out of which 239 (26.37%) were mucormycosis. Other fungi such as Candida (175, 19.3%), Aspergillus 28 (3.1%), Trichosporon (6, 0.66%) and Curvularia (0.11%) were also identified. Out of the total, 52 were mixed infections. The total percentage of patients having underlying active COVID-19 infection or in the post-recovery phase was 62%. Most cases (80%) were of rhino-orbital origin, 12% were Pulmonary and the rest 8% where no primary site of infection was confirmed. Among risk factors, pre-existing diabetes mellitus (DM), or acute hyperglycemia was present in 71% of cases. Corticosteroid intake was recorded in 68% of cases, chronic hepatitis infection in 4%, two cases of chronic kidney disease, and only one case with triple infection of COVID-19, underlying HIV, and pulmonary tuberculosis. Death from fungal infection was reported in 28.7% of the cases. Even with rapid diagnosis, treatment of underlying disease, and aggressive medical and surgical intervention, the management is often not effective, leading to an extension of the infection and ultimately death. So, early diagnosis and prompt management of this suspected new emerging fungal infection with COVID-19 should be considered.


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