Overuse of antibiotics major cause for black fungus: Expert

Hyderabad: Excessive use of steroids, antibiotics and improper infection control measures in patients on oxygen therapy are some of the causes for mucormycosis, or black fungus, in Covid-19 recovered patients, according to experts.

During the second wave of the pandemic, there has been a surge in Covid 19 recovered patients suffering from mucormycosis which is attributed to improper use of steroids and inappropriate management of patients on oxygen therapy.

“In treating Covid-19 patients there is abuse, misuse and overuse of antibiotics and steroids. This is leading to invasive fungal sinusitis. The sugar levels of patients are not being monitored and they are coming back with this deadly infection,” said Dr C. Shekar Singh, ENT specialist.

The rising cases led to the Director of Public Health Dr Srinivasa Rao sending out an urgent note to all the hospitals treating Covid-19 patients to judiciously use steroids, antifungals and antibiotics.

The health department also noted that the humidifiers which are used for oxygen therapy must be operated with clean and sterile water only.

A senior doctor from the Government ENT Hospital said, "Due to shortage of staff, lack of trained nurses and insufficient doctors in all departments, there is no proper monitoring of infection control measures in hospitals. In the districts and even on the outskirts of Hyderabad, we are worried that handling of equipment is not in sterile condition. It is suspected that tap water and mineral water is being used which is also another cause."

The handling of equipment and its sterilisation is important but due to the high load of patients with low oxygen levels, the oxygen therapy machines are always full. For this reason, the protocols of disinfection are not being followed.

Dr Srinivasa Rao asked all hospitals to use sterilised or distilled water, check water levels twice daily, and wash humidifiers with soap water and dry before reuse.

They also stated that once in a week and in between patients, all components of humidifiers must be soaked in antiseptic solution for 30 minutes, rinsed with clean water and dried in air.


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