The Gujarat Health Department on Monday issued an advisory for doctors and health officials regarding the emergence of mucormycosis cases among COVID-19 patients in the state. Mucormycosis is an uncommon and serious fungal infection with a high 50% mortality rate. According to the health department's advisory, mucormycosis infection is found in people with a weak immune system and existing illnesses.
The government has issued this advisory after several coronavirus patients in Ahmedabad and Rajkot were found to be infected with mucormycosis. The advisory states that mucormycosis is "serious but rare infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes".
Mucormycosis is known to usually affect the sinuses or lungs. It is caused after fungal spores enter the body via inhalation or they enter the skin through a bruise, cut, burn or any other type of skin injury. "People get mucormycosis through contact with fungal spores in the environment," the advisory said.
"However, it can occur in any part of the body," said the health department's advisory. It further added that even though the "overall mortality rate is around 50%", early identification and treatment can lead to a recovery in infected patients.
The advisory also states that people having diabetes, cancer have a high chance of infection. People who have recently undergone an organ transplant, stem cell transplant or have a high quantity of iron in their body are also at risk of contracting the fungal infection.
The advisory also listed preventive measures against mucormycosis. The health department recommends wearing N95 masks. It has also recommended that people should avoid direct contact with dust, wear - shoes, pants and gloves while handling soil or moss. People should also clean their skin injuries with soap and water. However, the advisory stated that these are only recommendations and that these "have not been proven to prevent mucormycosis".