India: Black fungus epidemic discussed by health experts
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They believe that symptoms could be directly linked to the new Delta variant. The mutation has ripped through the country and caused thousands of deaths in recent weeks. A Mumbai cardiologist told Bloomberg of how he had treated patients during the last two months who were suffering from severe blood clots resulting in gangrene. Two of his patients were forced to undergo amputations in order to save their lives.
Dr Ganesh Manudhane, who works at Seven Hills hospital, said: “I saw three-to-four cases the whole of last year, and now it’s one patient a week.
“We suspect it could be because of the new virus variant.”
However, as yet there is no conclusive proof of a causal link between the Delta variant and new symptoms.
Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, told Bloomberg: “We need more scientific research to analyse if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 (Delta) or not.”
India has also seen a steep rise in people ill with mucormycosis, a rare black fungal infection.
Also known as black fungus, the very rare infection is caused by exposure to mucor mould and normally affects people with severely compromised immune systems, such as diabetics and HIV/Aids sufferers.
It has a 50 percent mortality rate, if it is not treated early.
Prior to the Covid pandemic, instances of the disease were very rare, but doctors are struggling to cope with the dramatic increase in cases.
Many are having to resort to removing the eyes and jaws of patients, in order to save their lives.
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Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, a leading Indian doctor in Delhi, recently tweeted: “We have seen more cases of black fungus in the past week than we normally treat in two years.”
The disease affects the sinuses, the brain and lungs.
The rise in black fungus infections is thought to be connected to the use of steroids in seriously ill Covid patients.
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