On Friday, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that black fungus has claimed more than 7,000 lives in the country. (Photo by Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times)(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
On Friday, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that black fungus has claimed more than 7,000 lives in the country. (Photo by Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times)(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Diabetes, cold oxygen, unwashed masks: AIIMS doctor lists reasons for rise in black fungus cases

  • States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have declared mucormycosis a 'notifiable' disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act after a letter from the Centre.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2021 09:50 AM IST

A doctor experrt has said that Covid-19 patients with uncontrolled diabetes who have been treated with steroids, tocilizumab, and put under ventilation have a high risk of contracting mucormycosis or black fungus infection. Dr P Sarat Chandra, senior neurosurgeon at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi said that patients within six weeks of Covid-19 treatment are at the highest risk of contracting black fungus.

"One of the most important reasons is uncontrolled diabetes, systemic use of steroids along with tocilizumab, patients on ventilation and taking supplemental oxygen. Within six weeks of Covid treatment if people have any of these factors they are at the highest risk of black fungus," said Dr Chandra who also teaches neurosurgery at AIIMS.

The doctor also said that administering cold oxygen is dangerous and anti-fungal drug Posaconazole has to be given to patients who are deemed particularly vulnerable to the disease. Chandra’s cautionary words reiterate the concerns raised by many health experts.


"Giving cold oxygen directly from the cylinder is very dangerous. Anti-fungal drug Posaconazole can be given to high-risk individuals to reduce incidents of black fungus," Dr Chandra said.

He also cautioned against the long term use of face masks, advising N-95 masks be discarded after five uses and cloth masks to be washed daily. He also advised against storing masks in damp places, as after prolonged usage it runs the risk of catching fungus.

"Prolonged use of masks to be discouraged as any cloth mask kept in a damp place with prolonged use may catch fungus. Cloth masks should be washed every day and N95 masks preferably discarded after five uses. “Rotatory use of masks is preferred, that is, keep one mask for every day of the week and rotate them again,” he advised.

States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have declared mucormycosis a 'notifiable' disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act after a letter from the Centre.

On Friday, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that Covid-19-linked infection has claimed more than 7,000 lives in the country.

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