India battles rash of ‘black fungus’ cases hitting COVID patients

Delhi (HRNW) India has ordered tighter surveillance of a rare fungal disease hitting COVID-19 patients, officials said, piling pressure on hospitals struggling with the world’s highest number of daily infections of the novel coronavirus.

Mucormycosis, or “black fungus”, usually infects people whose immune system has been compromised, causing blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.

Doctors believe that the use of steroids to treat severe COVID-19 could be causing the rash of cases because those drugs reduce immunity and push up sugar levels.

Health Secretary Lav Agarwal said in a letter to state governments that mucormycosis had emerged as a new challenge for COVID-19 patients on steroid therapy and those with pre-existing diabetes.

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