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Mucormycosis in the setting of the Covid-19 pandemic in patients without exposure to steroids and oxygen: A case series from a tertiary care center in North India

1 Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
4 Department of ENT, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Mradul Kumar Daga,
Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injms.injms_133_21

Background: Sudden surge of mucormycosis cases in India needs an urgent attention as multiple factors have been implicated. However, diabetes mellitus remains to be one of the most important and modifiable factors. Methodology: We prospectively followed 11 patients with mucormycosis in May 2021 and June 2021, admitted to our hospital to study the possible etiologies. Results: Out of the 11 patients, six were males and five were females, with an average age of 52.45 years. Type 2 diabetes mellitus was the ubiquitous comorbidity, and every patient presented with uncontrolled hyperglycemia (six out of them were in diabetic ketoacidosis). Glycated hemoglobin levels ranged from 10.2% to 15.1%. Out of 11 patients, four patients were non-COVID, whereas five patients had a history of COVID-19 infection. All these five post COVID-19 patients presented approximately 20 days after recovery, out of which one patient had severe infection who was hospitalized. The remaining two patients were COVID-19-positive. Out of 11 patients, 10 patients had rhino-orbital mucormycosis at presentation, among which four patients had cerebral involvement, and one out of them later developed invasive disease. However, one patient had only pulmonary mucormycosis at presentation. Serum ferritin was raised in all the patients, and six had serum zinc levels below the reference range. Serum flow cytometry showed leukopenia with normal CD4:CD8 ratio in seven patients. In the clinical outcome, six patients expired, whereas five patients responded to the treatment and were discharged on oral posaconazole therapy. Conclusion: From our study, it is quite evident that uncontrolled diabetes and its complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis were an important risk factor for the occurrence of mucormycosis in COVID-19 patients as well as non-COVID-19 patients, even without exposure to steroids or oxygen. Thus, blood glucose levels should be kept at optimum level during the management of COVID-19 patients.

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