Mucormycosis in the COVID-19 Era – A Natural Calamity or ManMade Disaster? Current Evidence and Review of the Literature

DOI: 10.2478/jim-2022-0008

Mucormycosis is a potentially fatal disease caused by a fungus of the order Mucorales, most commonly involving the nasal sinuses, orbits, brain, lungs, and skin. The disease affects mostly immunosuppressed individuals and patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes. The prevalence of mucormycosis is 80 times higher (0.14 per 1000) in India compared to developed countries. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sudden surge in the number of mucormycosis cases, especially on the Indian subcontinent. This can be attributed to what we consider to be the perfect iatrogenic recipe: a combination between the immunosuppression caused by COVID-19, the large prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes and the simultaneous use of corticosteroids. Other factors include the excessive use of antibiotics, antifungal drugs and zinc supplements, invasive ventilation, poor hygiene and sanitization as well as the use of industrial oxygen in hospitals. As a result, an overwhelmingly large number of COVID-19 patients have developed mucormycosis during the pandemic. A review of the literature suggests that all efforts should be made to keep tight control of glycemia in COVID-19 patients along with judicious use of corticosteroids. The treatment of mucormycosis involves a combination of medical and surgical therapy, with the early initiation of antifungal drugs and aggressive surgical debridement of the affected tissues