AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria
NEW DELHI: Increasing cases and deaths due to secondary infection in hospitals along with rising incidence of mucormycosis among Covid-19 patients are being reported from across the states, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Saturday.
Currently, AIIMS New Delhi has 23 cases of mucormycosis with 20 of them Covid-positive. Many states have 500-1,000 cases of mucormycosis. Officials urged hospitals to strictly follow infection control protocols and avoid irrational use of steroids in Covid-19 patients, particularly at an early stage or in mild illnesses.
“As Covid-19 cases are increasing, it is of paramount importance that we follow protocols of infection control practices at hospitals. It has been seen that secondary infections — whether fungal or bacterial — are causing more mortality and morbidity,” he said.
He added the disease, mucormycosis, can affect the face, infect nose, orbit of eye, or brain, which can even cause vision loss. It can also spread to the lung. Officials advised regular monitoring of sugar level in infected patients as well as those with diabetes to avoid fungal infection.
“Chances of fungal infection increase in the patients who are diabetic, Covid positive and are taking steroids. To prevent it, we should stop the misuse of steroids,” Dr Guleria said.
According to Guleria, mucormycosis spores are found in soil, air and even in food, but they are of low virulence and usually don’t cause infection. “Even before Covid, this disease could be seen mostly in diabetic patients, transplant and cancer patients, but it was rare among public. Now a large number of cases are being reported due to Covid treatment,” he said, recommending close monitoring of blood sugar levels to prevent the infection.