A rare black-fungal disease that can be fatal is being increasingly linked to coronavirus, according to reports.
Hospitals across India have reported surging numbers in the unusual infection affecting patients who have weaker immune systems due to Covid-19.
Hospitals in New Delhi were first to announce cases of Mucormycosis, a black-fungal disease, and several other cities have now suffered similar outbreaks.
The disease can occur in any part of the body, and affect the sinuses and lungs if inhaled. It can also get into the body through cuts, entering through ripped skin.
This potentially fatal infection can kill if not detected early, and also lead to blindness. If it enters through the nose it can spread to the eyes, paralysing the muscles and leading to a loss of sight.
The deadly fungal disease is triggered by coronavirus due to patients weakened immune system, doctors in India said.
In New Delhi, there have been more than two dozen cases in one hospital alone.
Dr Manish Munjal, a senior surgeon, told the Anadolu news agency: "We are seeing a spurt in many cases…it is something to be noted.
"In the last 15 days, we have seen around 18 Mucormycosis cases coming into our OPD’s [outpatient department] and emergencies.
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"Four of them have lost their lives because the disease spread to their brains. Three patients have lost their eyesight.
"The infection is prevalent in non-COVID-19 people as well. But it is rare."
Dr Devang Gupta, ENT surgeon at Civil Hospital, told Times of India: "We have recorded 20% mortality (deaths of nine out of 46 patients).
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"In the past 18 years, I have seen about 20-odd cases of the infection. In the past nine months, we have seen 46 such instances.
"Mostly patients with lower immunity after recovery from Covid-19."
Skin Mucormycosis causes intense blisters or ulsters, blackening portions of skins and causing swelling.
The nasty disease can cause facial swelling and congestion, and black lesions on the nasal bridge or inside of the mouth.
In the lungs, the infection can cause a fever, cough and chest pain – symptoms similar to coronavirus itself.
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