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New Drug Resistant Fungus Claims Lives of 2 People in Delhi: What to Know

Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis: These are the first reported cases of this fungus’ human infection in India.

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Health News
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>AIIMS reports two deaths due to a new drug-resistant fungus called&nbsp;Aspergillus lentulus</p></div>
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Two patients in Delhi's AIIMS Hospital have reportedly died of a drug resistant pathogen known as Aspergillus lentulus.

Doctors at AIIMS confirmed that the fungus was detected in the two patients who were suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, reported Times of India.

One of the patient's who died was reportedly in his late 50s and the other patient was in his 40s.

Although human infections of this new pathogen—identified in 2005—have been reported in other countries, these are the first known cases of aspergillosis in India.

Both the patients had COPD, and neither of them seemed to respond to the antibiotic or antifungal treatment they were administered.

Both the patients were given Amphotericin B and oral Voriconazole injections at AIIMS, but there was no improvement in their healths and they ultimately succumbed to the fungal infection.
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What Is Aspergillus Lentulus?

According to the US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC). Aspergillus Lentulus is a type of species of fungus that can cause invasive aspergillosis, a serious infection that typically affects the lungs and has a high fatality rate.

Since this is the first time such cases have been reported in India, experts urge caution.

The US CDC also highlights that people with weak immunities and pre-existing pulmonary conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness and mortality.

People who are down with COVID-19 or have had COVID need to be especially careful as COVID also takes a toll on the lungs and makes the patient susceptible to other invasive pathogens such as this one.

Numerous cases of COVID-19 related pulmonary aspergillosis have been reported around the world since the beginning of the pandemic.

One needs to identify the infection early in order to treat the problem. Blood tests can help to detect this infection in people who have weak immunities.

Antimicrobial Resistance: What to Know

What's particularly worrying about these cases is that the pathogen doesn't seem to be responding to antifungal treatments.

As per the US CDC, antifungal resistance takes place when a fungus is able to survive even though the patient is being treated with antifungal medications.

Doctors have, for a while now, spoken of antibiotic overuse and steroid misuse as possibly being behind the rise in antimicrobial resistant pathogens around the world.

"It kills both the bad and the good bacteria, thus creating favourable conditions for the fungus that are known to cause diseases," a senior doctor was quoted as saying by Times of India.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Aspergillosis

According to the US CDC, typical symptoms of Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis include,

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Coughing up blood

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

If you are someone who has a history of pulmonary conditions and infections, and are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised that you consult a doctor.

(Written with inputs from Times of India and US CDC.)

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