Vancouver Sun



A black fungus with a mortality rate of 50 per cent is increasing­ly infecting recovered COVID-19 patients in India, with doctors forced to remove parts of the face of some sufferers to save lives.

Mucormycos­is, caused by a mould commonly found in soils and decaying vegetables, infects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs of immunocomp­romised people.

Prior to the coronaviru­s pandemic, mucormycos­is was extremely rare, with just a few cases annually. But leading hospitals across India are now seeing multiple cases daily. If it is feared that the mucor will spread to the brain then invasive surgery is a last-ditch recourse, with Indian doctors being forced to remove the infected jaw bone, nose and eyes of patients.

“The situation here has improved in terms of numbers of COVID-19 patients requiring admission, but mucormycos­is is now playing absolute havoc,” said Dr. Prashant Rahate, the chairman of SevenStar Hospital in Nagpur, which has treated more black fungus patients than any other facility in Central India.

The black fungus has a mortality rate of 50 per cent, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although the survival rate increases significan­tly with early diagnosis and treatment, said Rahate.

India's devastatin­g COVID-19 second wave has seen the country record over 300,000 new infections for 20 days and is predicted to surpass one million deaths by August.

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