New Delhi: An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study has found that a worrying number of COVID-19 patients have died because of secondary infections. To be precise, more than half (56%) of coronavirus patients who had developed secondary infections passed away.
All these were patients were being treated in ICU.
The study, conducted between June and August last year, showed that most COVID patients had developed a secondary bacterial or fungal infection during treatment or after, leading to death in over half of the cases, reported India Today.
There were some cases of black fungus or mucormycosis infections also, the study observed.
The ICMR survey covered 17,534 patients, of whom 3.6% developed a secondary bacterial or fungal infection with the mortality among them being 56.7%.
The number of deaths was many times higher in case of secondary infections as compared to overall mortality of hospitalized COVID patients, pointing to the higher risk of those contracting infections.
“Blood and respiratory sites were the most common sites of secondary infection in Covid-19 patients. Gram-negative pathogens were predominant in respiratory infections, with a significant proportion of Gram-positive pathogens isolated from bloodstream infections,” the study said.
In a significant observation, the indicated that the fact there is growing drug resistance could well have played a major role in the patients developing secondary infections.
“As most of the secondary infections in our study were nosocomial in origin, and that too with highly drug-resistant pathogens, it highlighted poor infection control practices and irrational antibiotic prescription practices,” said the ICMR study.
Senior scientist Dr Kamini Walia, who headed the study, told India Today: “Drug-resistant infections increase hospital stays, increase the cost of treatment. Moreover, when these patients have high drug-resistant infections, the outcomes are poor.”
She warned against irrational use of antibiotics.
“Standard practices in ICUs need to be followed. In case of Covid-19 patients, doctors are wearing PPEs, double gloves etc. These become physical challenges for implementing infection control practices,” Dr Walia told the channel.