AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria : Three Key Factors To Prevent ‘Black Fungus’
Diabetics from the high risk group for this disease which spreads through nose and affects other parts of the body such as eyes
Director of AIIMS, Dr Randeep Guleria enumerates 3 key factors to prevent Black Fungus
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi listed three factors important in the prevention of ‘black fungus’ or Mucormycosis outbreak.
“Earlier, mucormycosis was commonly spotted in people suffering from diabetes mellitus, a condition where one’s blood sugar (glucose) levels are abnormally high.”
Mucormycosis, or black fungus as it is commonly called, is caused by a group of moulds (a kind of fungus) known as Mucormycetes, which is present in the environment. It spreads through nose and affects other parts of the body such as eyes.
“Apart from them, Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, those who have had a transplant, and people taking immunosuppressants (medications that weaken the immune system) also used to get it. But now due to Covid-19 and its treatment, an increase in the number of cases is being witnessed,” added Dr Guleria.
When asked what are the three key factors which can help in preventing ‘Black Fungus’ Dr. Guleria listed out the following three key factors - Good control of blood sugar levels; Those on steroids must monitor blood sugar levels regularly; and Those on steroids must be careful about when to give them and their dosage.
“Uncontrolled diabetes with Covid can also predispose to the development of mucormycosis,” Dr Guleria also said that Mucormycosis was also seen to some extent during the SARS outbreak in 2002.
Dr Guleria also was of the opinion that steroid use has become much more prevalent during the debilitating second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India. “Those given high doses of steroids when not indicated can lead to high blood sugar levels and a high chance of mucormycosis,” he said. Dr Guleria called for judicious use of steroids.
Earlier, the Central government had requested all States and UTs to declare Mucormycosis an epidemic. It has also asked them to make it mandatory for all government and private health facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to health department and subsequently to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP).
The letter from the Health Ministry said, “The treatment of this fungal infection requires multidisciplinary approach consisting of Eye Surgeons, ENT specialists, General Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Dental Maxillofacial surgeon etc. and institution of Amphotericin B as an antifungal medicine. You are requested to make Mucormycosis a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.”