High Blood Sugar Raises Black Fungus Risk: ICMR


CHENNAI : High blood sugar and steroid use increased the risk of black fungus infection (rhino-orbitocerebral mucormycosis or ROCM) affecting nose, eyeballs, and the brain among people who recovered from Covid- 19 infection in India, a study undertaken by researchers from National Institute of Epidemiology of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Chennai, and several other institutions across India found.

The case-control study was published on August 8 in the scientific journal PLOS One. The study was designed and conducted in 20 tertiary care hospitals in public and private sectors that treated Covid-19 and ROCM cases across India during June-July 2021.

An increased number of ROCM cases was reported from across India, including Tamil Nadu, when Covid-19 was at its peak. Researchers determined the risk factors for ROCM post Covid-19 among those never and ever hospitalised for Covid-19 separately through a multicentric, hospital-based, unmatched case-control study.

From the hospitalised, they recruited 267 cases and 256 controls. From those never hospitalised, they recruited 116 cases and 231 controls. The researchers found that risk for post Covid ROCM among the hospitalised aged 45- 59 years was 2.1 times more than the controls, among those with diabetes mellitus 4.9 times, among those with elevated plasma glucose 6.4 times, among those administered steroids 3.2 times, and those who underwent frequent nasal washing 4.8 times.

Among those never hospitalised 60 years and above, risk for post Covid ROCM was 6.6 times, among those with diabetes mellitus 6.7 times, among those with elevated plasma glucose 13.7 times, and among those administered steroid 9.8 times. The study concluded that high blood sugar, irrespective of having diabetes and steroid use, was associated with an increased risk of ROCM, independent of Covid-19 hospitalisation.


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