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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38-46

Storm of a rare opportunistic life threatening mucormycosis among post COVID-19 patients: A tale of two pathogens

1 Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar Campus; Department of Microbiology, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar Campus, Sultanate of Oman
2 Department of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohan Bilikallahalli Sannathimmappa
Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, PO BOX: 391, PC: 321, Al Tareef, Sohar
Sultanate of Oman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijciis.ijciis_48_21

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Mucormycosis is a rare but life-threatening opportunistic fungal infection caused by a group of molds that belong to Zygomycetes of the order Mucorales. These fungi are found in the environment such as soil, decaying vegetation, and organic matters. Sporangiospores present in the environment enter the human body through inhalation or direct skin inoculation by trauma or ingestion and result in pulmonary, cutaneous, and gastrointestinal mucormycosis, respectively, in immunocompromised hosts. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes, hematological malignancies, high-dose glucocorticoid therapy, iron overload, and organ transplantation are at high risk of acquiring mucormycosis. The second wave of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2] affected India severely with the highest number of cases and deaths compared to all other countries. Additionally, the country was affected by emergence of rare but life-threatening mucormycosis. Currently, many coronavirus disease 2019 patients with underlying risk factors such as uncontrolled diabetes, high-dose steroid therapy, and exposure to mechanical ventilation have developed mucormycosis. Inhalation is the most common mode of transmission that results in colonization of sporangiospores in the nose. In immunocompromised host, sporangiospores germinate, and subsequently form hyphae. These hyphae invade into tissues, and produce tissue infarction, necrosis, and thrombosis. Angioinvasion causes hematogenous dissemination to many organs, predominantly to brain, that result in rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis. Clinical characteristics, radio imaging, fungal culture, histopathology, and molecular techniques are the key diagnostic methods. Surgical intervention and aggressive antifungal therapy are the main management strategies. Amphotericin B is the drug of choice for treatment of mucormycosis, whereas posaconazole or isavuconazole is used for step-down therapy and salvage therapy.

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