Gujarat Health Dept issues advisory on mucormycosis

Gujarat Health Department issues advisory on mucormycosis, says infection has 50% mortality rate

It most commonly affects the sinuses or lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air, or the skin after the fungus enters through a cut, burn or other type of skin injury

Representative Image. Credit: iStock

The Gujarat health department has issued an advisory to doctors and health officials after some Covid-19 patients were recently found infected with mucormycosis, saying it is a serious but rare fungal infection and has an overall "mortality rate of 50 per cent".

As per the advisory issued on Monday, mucormycosis infects people with weak immune system and having other existing illnesses.

The health department said the advisory is being issued after some coronavirus patients in Ahmedabad and Rajkot were found infected with mucormycosis, which is "serious but rare infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes".

It most commonly affects the sinuses or lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air, or the skin after the fungus enters through a cut, burn or other type of skin injury.

"However, it can occur in any part of the body," said the advisory.

It said though the "overall mortality rate is around 50 per cent", early identification and treatment can lead to better outcome.

The advisory said people having diabetes or cancer, or those who underwent organ transplant, stem cell transplant or people having too much iron in the body are at a greater risk of contracting this infection.

The health department made it clear that mucormycosis "cannot spread between people or between people and animals".

"People get mucormycosis through contact with fungal spores in the environment," it said.

Enlisting some preventive measures, like wearing N95 masks, the advisory said these are recommendations and they "have not been proven to prevent mucormycosis".

Apart from wearing the N95 mask, people should avoid direct contact with lot of dust, wear shoes, long pants and gloves while handling soil or moss, and clean skin injuries well with soap and water, said the advisory.