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India records over 4,300 ‘black fungus’ deaths

More than 4,300 people have died of the deadly “black fungus” in India in a growing epidemic that mainly affects Covid-19 patients.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said India has reported 45,374 cases of this rare and dangerous infection, called mucormycosis.

It affects the nose, eyes and sometimes the brain, and usually strikes 12-18 days after recovery from Covid.

Nearly half of those infected are still receiving treatment.

Doctors say the fungus has a link with the steroids used to treat Covid, and diabetics are at particular risk.

Steroids reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19 and appear to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off the coronavirus.

But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients.

It’s thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering cases of mucormycosis in diabetics or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/Aids.

An anti-fungal injection is the only drug effective against the disease, doctors say.

The two worst-affected states are Maharashtra and Gujarat, where 1,785 people have died from mucormycosis.

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