Black Fungus Makes a Quiet Comeback After Conspicuous Terror in Second Cov Wave | Kolkata News

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KOLKATA: Even though mucormycosis — or black fungus — was not widespread during the third wave of the pandemic, some cases of the fungal infection have surfaced, much to the surprise of doctors in Kolkata. At least two of these patients are currently being treated at a city hospital. While one is recovering well, the other patient remains critical.
Fear of mucormycosis had gripped Covid survivors across the county during the second wave. In Bengal, nearly 150 cases were reported from just two state hospitals – IPGME&R, which was designated as the top center for treating affected patients, and Bankura Sammilani Medical (BSMC) College, one of the two regional black fungus centers.
“Since no cases of mucormycosis were reported this time, I was surprised when we got two suspected cases. Biopsy reports have confirmed mucormycosis in both cases,” said ENT surgeon Arjun Dasgupta, who treats patients at CMRI. While one is a 50-year-old woman from Kolkata who developed facial swelling post-Covid, the other is a 60-year-old man with multiple comorbidities, including diabetes. “While the woman is recovering well, the other patient who was referred from another hospital is critical,” Dasgupta said.
In the second wave, doctors had pointed to prolonged treatment on steroids and oxygen therapy as the main reasons a Covid patient would develop black fungus. “Less steroid use, fewer Covid-induced diabetes cases, and fewer ICU admissions could be the reasons we’re not getting mucormycosis cases this time,” said Biman Kanti Ray, professor of neurology at the Bangur Institute of Neurosciences.
ENT surgeon Shantanu Panja from the Apollo Multispecialty Hospital has only received one suspected case this time. “In most cases of Covid infection this time only the upper respiratory tract is affected. So no oxygen was needed. I only found one suspected case, but the fungal swab test didn’t detect any muormycosis,” said Panja.
A few weeks ago, a 60-year-old patient who had undergone a kidney transplant and also tested positive for Covid was treated for mucormycosis at the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences. “This time we only hear about sporadic cases of mucormycosis. At least 51 patients were admitted to us during the third wave,” said Monoj Mukherjee, chief otolaryngologist at BSMC.
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