Telangana: ‘Diabetes, steroids, ICU stay might not be reason for mucormycosis’

Telangana: ‘Diabetes, steroids, ICU stay might not be reason for mucormycosis’


(This story originally appeared in on Jun 08, 2021)

A cursory analysis of mucormycosis cases landing up at Telangana’s nodal centres, has put a question mark on previous theories floated around the ailment. While it had so far been believed that mucormycosis has a strong link to long-term steroid use, ICU stay and oxygen treatment, doctors at the Government ENT Hospital, Koti, say that a sizeable number of patients do not fall under this category.

“Nearly 30% of them that we have treated have not undergone oxygen therapy, ICU stay or taken steroids. In fact, most of them recovered from Covid-19 through home quarantine,” said Dr Manish Gupta, resident medical officer at the hospital adding that a detailed analysis of cases is currently underway.

mutant virus

As part of it, factors like diabetes, use of steroids, duration of hospital stay, other co-morbidities and vaccination status, among patients at the hospital, are being studied thoroughly.

At present, doctors say, nearly 50% of the patients suffering from mucormycosis have denovo diabetes (new diabetes) which sets in during the treatment of Covid-19. This junks the theory which suggests that patients with high uncontrolled diabetes, prior to Covid-19, are found developing the fungal infection.

“We have also seen cases where the patient had no previous history of diabetes, hospital stay or any other comorbidity. There are many cases among 30 to 40-year-olds who are otherwise healthy. It is possible that these factors don’t have a major role to play in this disease,” said a senior doctor from the Gandhi Hospital.

In fact, while the advisory of the Centre as well as state, stressing the need for sterilised water in flow meters used in oxygen beds, stems from the understanding that this water used is responsible for the spread of the virus, doctors feel otherwise. Many believe that it is the mutant variant of the Covid-19 virus that’s responsible for mucormycosis. “Rather than factors like diabetes, ICU stay etc, it is the mutation of the virus and the circulating variant during the second wave that is causing these cases,” said Dr Gupta — a theory seconded by others dealing with these cases.


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