A 40-year-old recovered COVID patient from Amendakarai village, Chengalpattu, passed away at the hospital on Wednesday night after symptoms of eye irritation and blurring of the left eye. He was a Tasmac supervisor. Two days ago, Ramesh noticed that he was losing vision in the left eye and also suffered from eye irritation. He was readmitted to Chengalpattu GH and tests revealed he had black fungus, but he passed away before responding to treatment.
Hospital authorities, meanwhile, said that the case was under investigation and not confirmed if death was due to mucormycosis. “The patient had mucormycosis symptoms but it is not yet confirmed,” said Dr Muthu Kumar, dean of the GH.
Though two others died after reporting symptoms of black fungus earlier in Madurai and Thoothukudi respectively, health officials claim the deaths were due to other reasons.
A total of 235 cases of mucormycosis have been reported in Tamil Nadu so far, with 70% of them being seen in diabetics. Doctors have warned that blood sugar levels in case of COVID are a major concern, which can worsen with mucormycosis later. Dr Rose Rachel, head of Internal Medicine, Dr Mehta’s Hospital, said if sugar levels are not controlled when someone tests positive, the risk of these patients getting mucormycosis is higher. “Consulting a physician during early symptoms is necessary so that steroids are given at the right time,” she added.
Since steroids remain a major cause of black fungus in most patients, doctors stress upon identifying early symptoms of COVID and controlling sugar levels to prevent the same. “Sugar control is necessary to ensure that COVID patients don’t reach the hypoxia stage,” said Dr Vijayalakshmi Balakrishnan, senior consultant, Infectious Diseases, Kauvery Hospital.