As the cases of Mucromycosis or 'Black Fungus' continues to rise in patients infected with COVID-19, a positive report of a Gurugram man defeating the infection after timely treatment has surfaced. 42-year-old Pushkar Saran, who developed symptoms of Black Fungus such as pain in the left side of his face and watery and red eyes after contracting the virus, underwent Fess (Functional Endoscopic sinus Surgery) and debridement surgery, which have demonstrated the efficacy in Mucormycosis cases.
After the surgery, Saran narrating his experience said "I had numbness on the left side of my face, watery and red eyes, and my teeth on the left side of my upper jaw had turned numb. I underwent surgery and I am fine now. There is still some numbness but it will be fine."
The Head of Department of ENT, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket Dr. Sumit Mrig, who has been treating Saran, asserted that 25 patients lost their eyes who came late for the treatment. "If any patient who has COVID and undergone steroid treatment or they face pain in one side of the head, half side facial pain, congestion in the eyes, any discharge from the eyes, then get an endoscopy done." Moving on to Saran, Dr. Mrig said, "He was a COVID recovered and non-diabetic patient and was on steroids. He approached the hospital after experiencing pain and swelling in his eyes and half-side facial pain."
"We examined Saran in the OPD and found pus. The swab test revealed Mucormycosis. We then admitted him immediately. Endoscopic sinus surgery was done, and it was because of timely action, the patient recovered and we could prevent the fungus from reaching the nasal or other parts of the body," Dr. Mrig added while reiterating that if a patient comes late and has already lost eyesight, in such cases the mortality rate is 40-80 percent.
Saran, who is on his path to recovery, advised others to take steroids only after proper medical consultation. "During COVID treatment, I was taking more than 30 mg steroids, and all of a sudden I started getting some issues. My sugar level also increased. Luckily, I contacted the doctor timely and got my treatment done. Black fungus is treatable but it is important that people should get the treatment timely before it gets worse. And, if you are taking steroids, keep checking for diabetes. Take steroids only after proper medical consultation," he said.
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens. While it is very rare, it can lead to loss of the upper jaw and sometimes even the eye. Sinuses of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from the air. Warning signs include pain and redness around the eyes and/or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomit, and altered mental status.
As per the government's advisory, the black fungus infection should be suspected when there is sinusitis, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling, toothache, blurred or double vision with pain, chest pain, etc. This infection has been witnessed in cases of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, and co-morbidities. Some of the tips for prevention include using masks at dusty construction sites, maintaining personal hygiene including through scrub bath, using steroids and antibiotics judiciously, controlling hyperglycemia, and monitoring blood glucose level post-COVID-19 discharge.