India has recorded more than 45,000 cases of “black fungus,” a 50% fatal fungal infection that is spreading among patients who have been diagnosed with Covid, in the past two months.

More than 4,200 people have died of mucormycosis, a disease usually rare, but which has spread in India among Covid-19 patients after their recovery, Deputy Minister of Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Council on July 20. Indian parliament.

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A particularly fatal disease

The death rate from this very aggressive fungal disease exceeds 50%. This has forced surgeons to have some patients’ eyes, nose and jaw removed to prevent infection from reaching the brain.

According to the government, the state of Maharashtra (west) is the most affected with 9,348 cases.

India recorded only 20 cases of mucormycosis per year before the Covid-19 pandemic. This disease particularly affects immunocompromised people who have too high a blood sugar level, who have AIDS or who have had organ transplants.

A spectacular epidemic

Experts have attributed the dramatic rise in mucormycosis cases to overuse of steroids to treat Covid-19 patients.

In May, the Indian government declared a state of epidemic for mucormycosis as the number of cases began to explode. Government figures show the number of infections peaked in May and June before dropping significantly.

Social networks were then inundated with desperate calls for treatments to cure this disease. Subsequently, the newspaper Hindustan Times (in English) reported on July 21 a significant drop in the number of cases in the densely populated city of Mumbai.