Covid

Better to address fungal infections by name rather than colour to avoid confusion: Dr Randeep Guleria

Colour of fungal infection may seem different according to the part of the body in which it is growing, said AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria. He also listed early warning signs for mucormycosis.

UPDATED: May 24, 2021 12:48 IST

Many of the terms being used to describe fungal infections are misleading, said Dr Randeep Guleria. Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, Dr Guleria made the statement at a press conference on Monday.

“It’s better to use the correct name because the colour of the fungus may seem different according to the part of the body in which it is growing,” Dr Guleria said.

The term ‘black fungus’ came to be associated with cases of mucormycosis because of its culture. The culture comprises white-coloured fungal colonies with black dots, he added.

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India has reported over 9,000 confirmed cases of fungal infections, many among recovered Covid-19 patients. Experts have attributed this surge in cases to the disproportionate use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

‘Hospitals having to operate two wards for mucormycosis patients’

“Fungal infections like mucormycosis, candida and aspergillus are commonly seen in people with weak immunity,” said Dr Randeep Guleria. Most of the cases of fungal infections among Covid-19 patients in India are mucormycosis.

Mucormycosis was also seen in Covid-19 patients who were never even hospitalised, he said, adding, it was found in diabetic patients who took steroids at home.

“Anti-fungal treatment of mucormycosis patients takes weeks. Therefore, it is a challenging situation for hospitals because they need mucormycosis wards for both Covid patients and non-Covid patients,” said Dr Guleria.

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Dr Randeep Guleria said a majority of mucormycosis patients at AIIMS in New Delhi are catching the fungal infection in the early stages of hospitalisation. Referring to precautions, he said tubing of oxygen should be clean and water being used for humidification should be sterile.

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Headaches, crusting in the nose, nosebleeds, swelling below one eye are some of the early warning signs of mucormycosis, he added.

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