Fungi damaging spine disc detected in four Covid-recovered patients, Health News, ET HealthWorld

MUMBAI: After mucormycosis (black fungus), another fungal infection has been detected in four Covid-recovered patients in Pune in the last three months, raising concerns among the health fraternity.

Prabhakar* (66) complained of mild fever and severe lower back pain a month after recovering from Covid-19. He was initially treated conservatively with muscle relaxants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without relief.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed severe infection-led bone damage to the spinal-discs spaces called spondylodiscitis. A bone biopsy and culture grew aspergillus species — a type of mold (fungus).

Medically termed as aspergillus osteomyelitis, the invasive fungal infection is extremely difficult to diagnose as it mimics spinal tuberculosis (TB). Such fungal infection has been detected in mouth cavities of Covid-recovered patients, and, in rare cases, in lungs.

“We diagnosed vertebral osteomyelitis caused by aspergillus fungi species in four patients in three months. Prior to this, aspergillus vertebral osteomyelitis had not been documented in post-Covid patients in India,” Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital infectious diseases expert Parikshit Prayag told TOI.

The common thread in the four was that they had severe Covid and were treated steroids to get over Covid-linked pneumonia and related complications.

“Long-term use of corticosteroids may increase the risk

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