As India reels from a deadly second wave of COVID-19, yet another infection is sweeping across the country, usually affecting recovered patients of the virus.

The country has thus far logged more than 45,000 cases of "black fungus" (mucormycosis) over the last two months, and over 4,300 people had died from it, India's junior health minister Bharati Pravin Kumar told Parliament on Tuesday.

In many cases, surgeons have been forced to remove eyes, the nose and jaw from patients to stop the aggressive infection from spreading to the brain, added the report.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country dealt with just over 20 cases on average a year, with patients comprising severely immunocompromised people like high sugar levels, as well as HIV or organ transplant receipients.

The cases, however, have ballooned lately, due to people having their immune systems weakened by the COVID-19 virus, and also the excessive use of steroids to treat the virus infection.

The western state of Mahasashtra led the cases tally with over 9,000 cases of black fungus.

Although government data shows that the infection numbers peaked during May and June and is currently on a downtrend, local papers are reporting a rise in cases among children in Rajasthan. The Indian social media sphere is also awash with pleas from netizens for medicines to treat the illness.

The Indian government has proceeded to loosen lockdown restrictions, despite pleas and warnings from experts of a looming third wave of COVID-19.

India continues to place second in the list of countries worst hit by the pandemic, with over 31.2 million cases, and more than 419,000 deaths, to date.

Some experts say that the number of deaths have been severely undercounted, and the real figure could go into the millions.

The coronavirus has infected more than 192 million people, and killed over 4.14 million, worldwide.

Source: AFP via NST
Photo source: Al Jazeera