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Year ender 2021: The year 2021 seemed to be the year of diseases in India. Even as an intense Covid-19 wave driven by Delta raged on, other illnesses from dengue, MIS, heart troubles to mucormycosis added to the health woes of people.
An array of post Covid complications affected several people including children while mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikangunya saw an upward trend this year with states like Uttar Pradesh registering more than five times the number of dengue cases that were reported last year.
Black fungus or mucormycosis is a rare fatal infection that occurs due to molds called mucormycetes and requires immediate medical attention. It was seen in post-Covid patients due to steroid usage. The combination of inappropriate use of steroids and uncontrolled diabetes leads to development of this disease. The common symptoms of mucormycosis include discoloration over the bridge of the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, one-sided facial pain and numbness. It also leads to brain damage.
This is another post-Covid complication caused due to overuse of steroids in the patients. It is also known as osteonecrosis or the death of bone tissue owing to the lack of blood supply. It can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the bone’s eventual collapse. While the disease has no symptoms at early stages, in later stages the affected joint might hurt when you put weight on it and eventually one may feel pain even while lying down.
While children usually show mild symptoms of Covid-19, this post Covid complication is said to be deadly. MIS-C can cause severe inflammation in heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, pain in stomach, skin rash, rapid breathing, red eyes, swelling on lips and tongue and headache.
There was increase in cases of heart attacks this year as many of the recovered Covid patients experienced cardiac issues. The symptoms ranged from chest tightness, breathing difficulties, pain and sudden palpitations. Complications like heart attack, myocarditis, swelling of the heart, low pumping capacity, heart failure, blood clotting, and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) were seen.
A mosquito-borne viral infection, spreading to people via the bite of an infected Aedes species (Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus) mosquito too gave a tough time to many people. From mild disease to dengue shock syndrome, the symptoms of the disease depend on its type.
In mild dengue fever, the symptoms can range from joint and muscle aches, high fever, body rash, frequent vomiting, and intense headache. In dengue haemorrhagic fever, there is bleeding in the gums, nose, mouth, low blood platelets count, internal bleeding, diarrhoea, convulsions, blood spots on the skin, intense fever, clammy skin and abdominal pain.
In dengue shock syndrome, the most severe and lethal form of dengue, the symptoms include low blood pressure, weak and rapid pulse beat, brain oedema leading to visual or auditory hallucinations, cerebral anoxia (no oxygen reaching the brain), heavy bleeding, high fever, vomiting and acute abdominal pain.
(With inputs from Dr. Bipin Jibhkate, Consultant critical care medicine, and ICU director Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road)