COVID-19 and mucormycosis superinfection: the perfect storm

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Background: The recent emergence of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) disease had been associated with reports of fungal infections such as aspergillosis and mucormycosis especially among critically ill patients treated with steroids. The recent surge in cases of COVID-19 in India during the second wave of the pandemic had been associated with increased reporting of invasive mucormycosis post COVID-19. There are multiple case reports and case series describing mucormycosis in COVID-19. Purpose: In this review, we included most recent reported case reports and case-series of mucormycosis among patients with COVID-19 and describe the clinical features and outcome. Results: Many of the mucormycosis reports were eported from India, especially in COVID-19 patients who were treated and recovered patients. The most commonly reported infection sites were rhino-orbital/rhino-cerebral mucormycosis. Those patients were diabetic and had corticosteroids therapy for controlling the severity of COVID-19, leading to a higher fatality in such cases and complicating the pandemic scenario. The triad of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), corticosteroid use and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus have been evident for significant increase in the incidence of angioinvasive maxillofacial mucormycosis. In addition, the presence of spores and other factors might play a role as well. Conclusion: With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and increasing number of critically ill patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, it is important to develop a risk-based approach for patients at risk of mucormycosis based on the epidemiological burden of mucormycosis, prevalence of diabetes mellitus, COVID-19 disease severity and use of immune modulating agents including the combined use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents in patients with cancer and transplants.

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