Deadly fungal disease ’triggered by Covid’ spreads in India, alarming doctors

Rising cases of a deadly fungal infection triggered by coronavirus have sparked an urgent warning from doctors.

GPs in India have sounded the alarm after a spike in cases of Mucormycosis in the last fortnight.

The infection can be deadly for patients with a weak immune system and can also lead to blindness, doctors said.

In New Delhi there have been more than two dozen cases in one hospital alone.

Dr Manish Munjal, a senior surgeon, told the Andolu news agency: “We are seeing a spurt in many cases…it is something to be noted.

"In the last 15 days, we have seen around 18 Mucormycosis cases coming into our OPD’s [outpatient department] and emergencies.

“Four of them have lost their lives because the disease spread to their brains. Three patients have lost their eyesight.

“The infection is prevalent in non-COVID-19 people as well. But it is rare.”

According to the surgeon, patients are contracting the fungal infection having already had coronavirus – catching it when their immune systems are weak.

One doctor said that it was rare to see the infection prior to the pandemic.

  • Mystery disease sweeping India 'caused by traces of metal found in patients' blood'

India's Health Ministry has said it is aware of these rising cases.

India's coronavirus cases are nearing the 10 million mark, with the death toll exceeding 144,000.

Dr Devang Gupta, ENT surgeon at Civil Hospital, told Times of India: “We have recorded 20% mortality (deaths of nine out of 46 patients).

“In the past 18 years, I have seen about 20-odd cases of the infection. In the past nine months, we have seen 46 such instances.

“Mostly patients with lower immunity after recovery from Covid-19.”

It comes after scientists found nickel in blood samples taken from an area in India where hundreds of patients were struck down with a mystery illness.

More than 600 people fell ill with seizures and nausea in Andhra Pradesh Eluru.

“Presence of nickel in the milk samples is something which is warning us. It should not be present in the milk samples. It’s alarming,” Avr Mohan, the medical superintendent of District Hospital Eluru, told Al Jazeera.

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