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Rhino-Orbital Cerebral Mucormycosis in Non-Diabetic Patients with COVID-19.

Elhamamsy S, Bayer T, Al-Kaffas M, Hatahet S, Grover M, Samdhani S, Nanda A, Gravenstein S. Rhino-Orbital Cerebral Mucormycosis in Non-Diabetic Patients with COVID-19. Rhode Island medical journal (2013). 2021 Oct 1; 104(8):19-21.

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Rhino-orbital Cerebral Mucormycosis (ROCM), a rare invasive fungal infection, affects diabetic and immunocompromised individuals. Recent reports have raised the alarm for invasive ROCM associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 infection causes immune cell dysregulation, cytokine dysregulation, and is associated with invasive fungal infections. Immunosuppressive treatment of COVID-19 with corticosteroids increases the risk of opportunistic infection. We present a series of 3 cases of invasive ROCM with different outcomes in immunocompetent nondiabetic patients who all received corticosteroids at doses higher than those recommended by the World Health Organization, and who received oxygen during their SARS-CoV-2 treatment course. Immune dysregulatory effects of COVID-19 and high-dose corticosteroids may both have caused predisposition to ROCM in these cases. Additionally, health system stress caused by responding to COVID-19 surges may have predisposed patients to exposure to mucormycosis-causing fungi through use of non-sterilized water for oxygen humidification. In light of these cases, we encourage guideline-based corticosteroid dosing in the management of COVID-19 as well as vigilance for invasive mucormycosis and prompt treatment in corticosteroid-treated patients.

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