Dhaka, May 25 : Two Covid-19 patients have reportedly been found infected with ‘black fungus’ at BIRDEM Hospital in Dhaka.“Two patients, recovered from Covid-19 infections, have been infected by ‘black fungus’ with one undergoing treatment at the hospital,” Prof Delwar Hossain, head of the Respiratory Medicine Department at the hospital, told UNB on Tuesday.
“Another patient who might have been infected by ‘black fungus’ died three days back, However, we’re still not sure whether he died of ‘black fungus’ but he died of Covid-19 for sure,” Prof Delwar added.
India has reported more than 8,800 cases of deadly “black fungus” in a growing epidemic of the disease, reports the BBC.
Normally a rare infection, called mucormycosis, has a mortality rate of 50%, with some only saved by removing an eye.
But in recent months, India saw thousands of cases affecting the already recovered or recovering Covid-19 patients.
Doctors say there is a link with the steroids used to treat Covid. Diabetic patients are at particular risk.
Doctors have told the BBC it seems to strike 12 to 18 days after recovery from Covid.
What is mucormycosis or black fungus?
Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables, according to a BBC report.
It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS.
Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.
Steroids reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19 and appear to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off coronavirus. But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients.
It is thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering these cases of mucormycosis, reports UNB.