After Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana and Gujarat, Karnataka is now reporting mucormycosis, or 'black fungus', in COVID-19 patients and survivors.
Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) is now researching eight samples collected from recently infected patients who had shown the symptoms of the disease.
Mucormycosis or 'black fungus' is a rare but serious fungal infection. The disease often manifests in the skin and also affects the lungs and the brain.
The research at BMCRI is being conducted with the help of doctors from the government-run Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bengaluru.
A doctor from the institute shared that in eight samples of patients suffering from black fungus, six people succumbed to the disease, and two people have permanently lost their eyesight.
Many hospitals and eye hospitals in Bengaluru have reported cases of black fungus, including Narayana Nethralaya, People Tree hospitals, Trust Well Hospital, Dr Agarwal's Eye Hospital.
As per the information received by Trust Well Hospital, in the last two weeks, 38 people have been treated for black fungus infection in Bengaluru, reported The Indian Express.
After the rise in the number of cases, a special unit has been set up at the hospital for the purpose of providing special care to the infected patients.
Dr Deepak Haldipur, head of the Department of Special Treatment of Mucormycosis at Trust Well Hospital, said incorrect use of life-saving steroids in COVID-19 cases without the advice of a doctor could increase the sugar level in diabetic patients.
He further added that this fungus also increases in severity when immunity is reduced. He also pointed out that this fungus can also occur in cases where the water used in the oxygen humidifier is not sterilized.
The experts in the national COVID-19 task force had issued an evidence-based advisory on the disease. It said mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment and mainly affects people who are on medication for health problems.
It further added that it reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens as sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after they inhale fungal spores from the air.
Karnataka's death toll due to COVID-19 touched 20,368 with 517 fatalities on Wednesday, while 39,998 fresh cases took the total infection count to 20,53,191, as per the latest data released by the health department.