Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Dr Mohan Z Mani

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On Sep 2018




Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar

"Over the last few years, we have published our research regularly in Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Having published in more than 20 high impact journals over the last five years including several high impact ones and reviewing articles for even more journals across my fields of interest, we value our published work in JCDR for their high standards in publishing scientific articles. The ease of submission, the rapid reviews in under a month, the high quality of their reviewers and keen attention to the final process of proofs and publication, ensure that there are no mistakes in the final article. We have been asked clarifications on several occasions and have been happy to provide them and it exemplifies the commitment to quality of the team at JCDR."



Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar
Head, Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad
Chairman, Research Group, Charutar Arogya Mandal, Karamsad
National Joint Coordinator - Advanced IAP NNF NRP Program
Ex-Member, Governing Body, National Neonatology Forum, New Delhi
Ex-President - National Neonatology Forum Gujarat State Chapter
Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat.
On Sep 2018




Dr. Kalyani R

"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research is at present a well-known Indian originated scientific journal which started with a humble beginning. I have been associated with this journal since many years. I appreciate the Editor, Dr. Hemant Jain, for his constant effort in bringing up this journal to the present status right from the scratch. The journal is multidisciplinary. It encourages in publishing the scientific articles from postgraduates and also the beginners who start their career. At the same time the journal also caters for the high quality articles from specialty and super-specialty researchers. Hence it provides a platform for the scientist and researchers to publish. The other aspect of it is, the readers get the information regarding the most recent developments in science which can be used for teaching, research, treating patients and to some extent take preventive measures against certain diseases. The journal is contributing immensely to the society at national and international level."



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Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College
Sri Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research , Kolar, Karnataka
On Sep 2018




Dr. Saumya Navit

"As a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research provides an opportunity to researchers, scientists and budding professionals to explore the developments in the field of medicine and dentistry and their varied specialities, thus extending our view on biological diversities of living species in relation to medicine.
‘Knowledge is treasure of a wise man.’ The free access of this journal provides an immense scope of learning for the both the old and the young in field of medicine and dentistry as well. The multidisciplinary nature of the journal makes it a better platform to absorb all that is being researched and developed. The publication process is systematic and professional. Online submission, publication and peer reviewing makes it a user-friendly journal.
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Dr Saumya Navit
Professor and Head
Department of Pediatric Dentistry
Saraswati Dental College
Lucknow
On Sep 2018




Dr. Arunava Biswas

"My sincere attachment with JCDR as an author as well as reviewer is a learning experience . Their systematic approach in publication of article in various categories is really praiseworthy.
Their prompt and timely response to review's query and the manner in which they have set the reviewing process helps in extracting the best possible scientific writings for publication.
It's a honour and pride to be a part of the JCDR team. My very best wishes to JCDR and hope it will sparkle up above the sky as a high indexed journal in near future."



Dr. Arunava Biswas
MD, DM (Clinical Pharmacology)
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Calcutta National Medical College & Hospital , Kolkata




Dr. C.S. Ramesh Babu
" Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a multi-specialty medical and dental journal publishing high quality research articles in almost all branches of medicine. The quality of printing of figures and tables is excellent and comparable to any International journal. An added advantage is nominal publication charges and monthly issue of the journal and more chances of an article being accepted for publication. Moreover being a multi-specialty journal an article concerning a particular specialty has a wider reach of readers of other related specialties also. As an author and reviewer for several years I find this Journal most suitable and highly recommend this Journal."
Best regards,
C.S. Ramesh Babu,
Associate Professor of Anatomy,
Muzaffarnagar Medical College,
Muzaffarnagar.
On Aug 2018




Dr. Arundhathi. S
"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a reputed peer reviewed journal and is constantly involved in publishing high quality research articles related to medicine. Its been a great pleasure to be associated with this esteemed journal as a reviewer and as an author for a couple of years. The editorial board consists of many dedicated and reputed experts as its members and they are doing an appreciable work in guiding budding researchers. JCDR is doing a commendable job in scientific research by promoting excellent quality research & review articles and case reports & series. The reviewers provide appropriate suggestions that improve the quality of articles. I strongly recommend my fraternity to encourage JCDR by contributing their valuable research work in this widely accepted, user friendly journal. I hope my collaboration with JCDR will continue for a long time".



Dr. Arundhathi. S
MBBS, MD (Pathology),
Sanjay Gandhi institute of trauma and orthopedics,
Bengaluru.
On Aug 2018




Dr. Mamta Gupta,
"It gives me great pleasure to be associated with JCDR, since last 2-3 years. Since then I have authored, co-authored and reviewed about 25 articles in JCDR. I thank JCDR for giving me an opportunity to improve my own skills as an author and a reviewer.
It 's a multispecialty journal, publishing high quality articles. It gives a platform to the authors to publish their research work which can be available for everyone across the globe to read. The best thing about JCDR is that the full articles of all medical specialties are available as pdf/html for reading free of cost or without institutional subscription, which is not there for other journals. For those who have problem in writing manuscript or do statistical work, JCDR comes for their rescue.
The journal has a monthly publication and the articles are published quite fast. In time compared to other journals. The on-line first publication is also a great advantage and facility to review one's own articles before going to print. The response to any query and permission if required, is quite fast; this is quite commendable. I have a very good experience about seeking quick permission for quoting a photograph (Fig.) from a JCDR article for my chapter authored in an E book. I never thought it would be so easy. No hassles.
Reviewing articles is no less a pain staking process and requires in depth perception, knowledge about the topic for review. It requires time and concentration, yet I enjoy doing it. The JCDR website especially for the reviewers is quite user friendly. My suggestions for improving the journal is, more strict review process, so that only high quality articles are published. I find a a good number of articles in Obst. Gynae, hence, a new journal for this specialty titled JCDR-OG can be started. May be a bimonthly or quarterly publication to begin with. Only selected articles should find a place in it.
An yearly reward for the best article authored can also incentivize the authors. Though the process of finding the best article will be not be very easy. I do not know how reviewing process can be improved. If an article is being reviewed by two reviewers, then opinion of one can be communicated to the other or the final opinion of the editor can be communicated to the reviewer if requested for. This will help one’s reviewing skills.
My best wishes to Dr. Hemant Jain and all the editorial staff of JCDR for their untiring efforts to bring out this journal. I strongly recommend medical fraternity to publish their valuable research work in this esteemed journal, JCDR".



Dr. Mamta Gupta
Consultant
(Ex HOD Obs &Gynae, Hindu Rao Hospital and associated NDMC Medical College, Delhi)
Aug 2018




Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey

"I wish to thank Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), for asking me to write up few words.
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium i e; into the words and sentences on paper. Quality medical manuscript writing in particular, demands not only a high-quality research, but also requires accurate and concise communication of findings and conclusions, with adherence to particular journal guidelines. In medical field whether working in teaching, private, or in corporate institution, everyone wants to excel in his / her own field and get recognised by making manuscripts publication.


Authors are the souls of any journal, and deserve much respect. To publish a journal manuscripts are needed from authors. Authors have a great responsibility for producing facts of their work in terms of number and results truthfully and an individual honesty is expected from authors in this regards. Both ways its true "No authors-No manuscripts-No journals" and "No journals–No manuscripts–No authors". Reviewing a manuscript is also a very responsible and important task of any peer-reviewed journal and to be taken seriously. It needs knowledge on the subject, sincerity, honesty and determination. Although the process of reviewing a manuscript is a time consuming task butit is expected to give one's best remarks within the time frame of the journal.
Salient features of the JCDR: It is a biomedical, multidisciplinary (including all medical and dental specialities), e-journal, with wide scope and extensive author support. At the same time, a free text of manuscript is available in HTML and PDF format. There is fast growing authorship and readership with JCDR as this can be judged by the number of articles published in it i e; in Feb 2007 of its first issue, it contained 5 articles only, and now in its recent volume published in April 2011, it contained 67 manuscripts. This e-journal is fulfilling the commitments and objectives sincerely, (as stated by Editor-in-chief in his preface to first edition) i e; to encourage physicians through the internet, especially from the developing countries who witness a spectrum of disease and acquire a wealth of knowledge to publish their experiences to benefit the medical community in patients care. I also feel that many of us have work of substance, newer ideas, adequate clinical materials but poor in medical writing and hesitation to submit the work and need help. JCDR provides authors help in this regards.
Timely publication of journal: Publication of manuscripts and bringing out the issue in time is one of the positive aspects of JCDR and is possible with strong support team in terms of peer reviewers, proof reading, language check, computer operators, etc. This is one of the great reasons for authors to submit their work with JCDR. Another best part of JCDR is "Online first Publications" facilities available for the authors. This facility not only provides the prompt publications of the manuscripts but at the same time also early availability of the manuscripts for the readers.
Indexation and online availability: Indexation transforms the journal in some sense from its local ownership to the worldwide professional community and to the public.JCDR is indexed with Embase & EMbiology, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Chemical Abstracts Service, Journal seek Database, Indian Science Abstracts, to name few of them. Manuscriptspublished in JCDR are available on major search engines ie; google, yahoo, msn.
In the era of fast growing newer technologies, and in computer and internet friendly environment the manuscripts preparation, submission, review, revision, etc and all can be done and checked with a click from all corer of the world, at any time. Of course there is always a scope for improvement in every field and none is perfect. To progress, one needs to identify the areas of one's weakness and to strengthen them.
It is well said that "happy beginning is half done" and it fits perfectly with JCDR. It has grown considerably and I feel it has already grown up from its infancy to adolescence, achieving the status of standard online e-journal form Indian continent since its inception in Feb 2007. This had been made possible due to the efforts and the hard work put in it. The way the JCDR is improving with every new volume, with good quality original manuscripts, makes it a quality journal for readers. I must thank and congratulate Dr Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief JCDR and his team for their sincere efforts, dedication, and determination for making JCDR a fast growing journal.
Every one of us: authors, reviewers, editors, and publisher are responsible for enhancing the stature of the journal. I wish for a great success for JCDR."



Thanking you
With sincere regards
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey, M.S., M. Ch., FAIS
Associate Professor,
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Gandhi Medical College & Associated
Kamla Nehru & Hamidia Hospitals Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462 001 (India)
E-mail: drrajendrak1@rediffmail.com
On May 11,2011




Dr. Shankar P.R.

"On looking back through my Gmail archives after being requested by the journal to write a short editorial about my experiences of publishing with the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), I came across an e-mail from Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor, in March 2007, which introduced the new electronic journal. The main features of the journal which were outlined in the e-mail were extensive author support, cash rewards, the peer review process, and other salient features of the journal.
Over a span of over four years, we (I and my colleagues) have published around 25 articles in the journal. In this editorial, I plan to briefly discuss my experiences of publishing with JCDR and the strengths of the journal and to finally address the areas for improvement.
My experiences of publishing with JCDR: Overall, my experiences of publishing withJCDR have been positive. The best point about the journal is that it responds to queries from the author. This may seem to be simple and not too much to ask for, but unfortunately, many journals in the subcontinent and from many developing countries do not respond or they respond with a long delay to the queries from the authors 1. The reasons could be many, including lack of optimal secretarial and other support. Another problem with many journals is the slowness of the review process. Editorial processing and peer review can take anywhere between a year to two years with some journals. Also, some journals do not keep the contributors informed about the progress of the review process. Due to the long review process, the articles can lose their relevance and topicality. A major benefit with JCDR is the timeliness and promptness of its response. In Dr Jain's e-mail which was sent to me in 2007, before the introduction of the Pre-publishing system, he had stated that he had received my submission and that he would get back to me within seven days and he did!
Most of the manuscripts are published within 3 to 4 months of their submission if they are found to be suitable after the review process. JCDR is published bimonthly and the accepted articles were usually published in the next issue. Recently, due to the increased volume of the submissions, the review process has become slower and it ?? Section can take from 4 to 6 months for the articles to be reviewed. The journal has an extensive author support system and it has recently introduced a paid expedited review process. The journal also mentions the average time for processing the manuscript under different submission systems - regular submission and expedited review.
Strengths of the journal: The journal has an online first facility in which the accepted manuscripts may be published on the website before being included in a regular issue of the journal. This cuts down the time between their acceptance and the publication. The journal is indexed in many databases, though not in PubMed. The editorial board should now take steps to index the journal in PubMed. The journal has a system of notifying readers through e-mail when a new issue is released. Also, the articles are available in both the HTML and the PDF formats. I especially like the new and colorful page format of the journal. Also, the access statistics of the articles are available. The prepublication and the manuscript tracking system are also helpful for the authors.
Areas for improvement: In certain cases, I felt that the peer review process of the manuscripts was not up to international standards and that it should be strengthened. Also, the number of manuscripts in an issue is high and it may be difficult for readers to go through all of them. The journal can consider tightening of the peer review process and increasing the quality standards for the acceptance of the manuscripts. I faced occasional problems with the online manuscript submission (Pre-publishing) system, which have to be addressed.
Overall, the publishing process with JCDR has been smooth, quick and relatively hassle free and I can recommend other authors to consider the journal as an outlet for their work."



Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College, P.O. Box 14142, Kathmandu, Nepal.
E-mail: ravi.dr.shankar@gmail.com
On April 2011
Anuradha

Dear team JCDR, I would like to thank you for the very professional and polite service provided by everyone at JCDR. While i have been in the field of writing and editing for sometime, this has been my first attempt in publishing a scientific paper.Thank you for hand-holding me through the process.


Dr. Anuradha
E-mail: anuradha2nittur@gmail.com
On Jan 2020

Important Notice

Original article / research
Year : 2022 | Month : July | Volume : 16 | Issue : 7 | Page : ZC06 - ZC11 Full Version

Exploring the Knowledge, Awareness and Practice Regarding Post COVID-19 Mucormycosis among Dental Professionals in Tamil Nadu, India: A Cross-sectional Survey


Published: July 1, 2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2022/52715.16576
Sakthisri Vivekanandan, GR Karthikeyan, Balaguhan Balasubramaniyan, Mathanmohan Ayyathurai, Deepak Velu, M Nirmala Devar

1. Postgraduate, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 2. Associate Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chenglepet, Tamil Nadu, India. 3. Professor and Head, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 4. Professor and Dean, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 5. Associate Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 6. Senior Lecturer, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chenglepet, Tamil Nadu, India.

Correspondence Address :
Sakthisri Vivekanandan,
GST Road, Chinnakolambakkam, Palayanoor Post, Madhurantagam, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India.
E-mail: sakthisriv21@gmail.com

Abstract

Introduction: The incidence of mucormycosis in post COVID-19 cases increased in the second wave. Patients who had COVID-19 infection with pre-existing co-morbidities underwent treatment and resultant immunosuppression made them vulnerable to secondary infections like mucormycosis.

Aim: To analyse the knowledge, level of awareness and practice among the dental professionals towards the mucormycosis infection in patients of post COVID-19 disease.

Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional survey was conducted from May 2021 to June 2021 among 428 dental professionals residing in Tamil Nadu, India. The 16 item questionnaire consisted of questions about knowledge, awareness and practice regarding post COVID-19 mucormycosis infection by dental professionals and were sent to the dental practitioners through online portals. The responses were tabulated and the results were analysed using Chi-square test.

Results: The study participants included 264 (61.68%) females and 164 (38.32%) males dental professionals. The dental professionals who participated were in the age range of 21 years to 45 years with a mean of 29.87±6.52 years. The subjects were categorised under general dental practitioners 254 (59.34%), postgraduate students 96 (22.4%), specialty dental practitioners 78 (18.22%). Total 406 (94.86%) respondents agreed that oral examination is necessary for post COVID-19 patient. Out of 428, 306 (71.49%) of the participants responded that tooth pain associated with headache is a watchful sign in diabetic post COVID-19 patients.

Conclusion: This study emphasises the role of dental professionals in diagnosis and management of mucormycosis infection in patients of post COVID-19 disease. Dental professionals demonstrated adequate knowledge about post COVID-19 mucormycosis. This may act as a source of information for the future pandemic crisis.

Keywords

Coronavirus disease 2019, Dental practitioners, Mucorales infection

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious infection caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which may be associated with a wide range of disease patterns. The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and it has since spread worldwide, leading to an on-going pandemic (1).

The disease pattern of COVID-19 shown association with bacterial and fungal co-infections (2). This leads to an emerging concern, especially because of their complex diagnosis, severity, and increased mortality (3). Reports have suggested that patients who survive COVID-19 may experience impairment or prolonged symptoms in their overall health status after their acute phase recovery [3,4].

Various oral mycoses such as candidiasis, aspergillosis, mucormycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis are reported with COVID-19. The steep rise in cases of mucormycosis in patients of COVID-19 remains one of the most devastating complications in uncontrolled diabetes with mortality rates of 40-80% (5). Maharashtra, a state in India documented 1500 cases of post COVID-19 mucormycosis with 52 deaths in May 2021 (6).

Among various presentations of mucormycosis, ROCM (Rhino-Orbital-Cerebral Mucormycosis) is the commonest variety seen worldwide. It is frequently associated with uncontrolled diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis. The pulmonary mucormycosis is associated with neutropenia, bone marrow and organ transplant, and haematological malignancies, while gastrointestinal mucormycosis seen in malnourished individuals (7).

Mucormycosis is a potentially lethal invasive fungal infection caused by saprophytic aerobic fungi Rhizopus, Rhizomucor, and Cunninghamella genera of the order mucorales, now called Rhidopodaceae, which colonizes the oral and nasal mucosa and paranasal sinuses (8). The disease usually evolves rapidly in patients with compromised immune system; that is, those with human immunodeficiency virus infection, uncontrolled diabetes, malignant diseases, and solid organ transplantation (9).

Dentists should have a high degree of clinical suspicion and keep COVID-19 Associated Mucormycosis (CAMCR) in the differential diagnosis of a severely ill patient with COVID-19 and diabetes mellitus, especially if rhino-orbital or rhino-cerebral presentations are noted (4). To date, no study has investigated the knowledge, attitude and practice of dental professionals towards post COVID-19 mucormycosis in the Indian scenario. Hence, the present study was aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding post COVID-19 mucormycosis among dental professionals.

Material and Methods

A descriptive cross-sectional survey was carried to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice about post COVID-19 mucormycosis among the dental professionals. The study was conducted from May 2021 to June 2021 at Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India. The planning of this study was based on the guidelines of the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE initiative). The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IEC-KIDS no: KIDS/013/2021) before start of the study.

Sample size calculation: A pilot study was conducted among 25 dental practitioners to estimate the sample size and to check the feasibility of the study. The sample size was calculated with 80% statistical power, α=0.05, 95% confidence interval, 10% margin of error (E) using G power software. The size of the sample was estimated to be about 420 participants. The sampling frame consisted of dental practitioners working in dental colleges and private practice.

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria: The eligibility criteria include dental professionals residing and practicing all over Tamil Nadu and those who gave consent by answering the questionnaire within the limited time frame of 1 month were included in the study. The dental auxiliaries, dental hygienists, and dental professionals of age above 50 years were excluded from the study.

Questionnaire

A self-structured questionnaire [10,11] comprising of 16 closed-ended questions was prepared using Google forms. The questionnaire assessed for content validity and internal consistency of the questionnaire was found to be good (Cronbach’s alpha=0.84) and further modifications were done in the questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed in the English language. It was categorized into 4 domains-

First domain- involves demographic data.
Second domain- to assess the knowledge among the participants regarding pre-op assessment, clinical signs, and symptoms related to post COVID-19 mucormycosis (5 questions),
Third domain- to assess the awareness among the participants regarding the aetiology, routes of transmission, the role of vaccination, and the need for antifungal treatment (5 questions),
Fourth domain- includes the assessment of the overall outlook and dental practice towards post COVID-19 patients and the treatment and management of post COVID-19 mucormycosis (6 questions).

The confidentiality of information was preserved during the process by keeping it anonymous and the link of the questionnaire along with a consent form was forwarded to the contacts of the researchers using e-mails and various social media platforms. The information regarding the dental practitioners was collected from State Dental Associations, before the administration of the questionnaire, the aim and the potential benefits of the study were clearly explained to all the study participants. Informed consent was obtained from all the participants after they thoroughly understood the contents of the information sheet. Demographic details of the participants were also collected. All the participants were asked to respond to each item in the questionnaire by choosing the most appropriate answer.

Statistical Analysis

Data thus collected were entered into Microsoft Excel sheet 2007 to prepare master chart and analyses were performed using a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 20.0, USA. Descriptive statistics were performed for demographic variables. For all the qualitative data, the Chi-square test was used and the p-value was less than 0.05 which was considered to be significant.

Results

Around 450 questionnaires were sent through mail and the response rate was 428 (95.11%). (Table/Fig 1) shows the demographic details of the study population.

(Table/Fig 2) shows the distribution of responses to the knowledge items of post COVID-19 mucormyosis. Among the total participants, 406 (94.86%) respondents agreed that oral examination is necessary for post COVID-19 patient. About 190 (44.39%) of respondents suggested that antibody test is essential to rule out the status of the post COVID-19 patients. Over half of the participants in survey were aware of common facial signs and symptoms includes facial swelling restricted to one side, orbital cellulitis restricted to one side, paraesthesia, discoloration of skin and intraoral symptoms includes multiple pustules, loosening of teeth/dental segment, discoloration of palate. About 154 (35.98%) of total participants responded that Potassium hydroxide (KOH) staining and direct microscopy as a first choice investigation for suspected fungal infection in post COVID-19 patients. Except for the first question regarding knowledge of post COVID-19 Mucormycosis, the distribution of responses of all other questions found to be highly statistically significant (p-value<0.05).

(Table/Fig 3) shows the distribution of responses to the awareness about post COVID-19 mucormyosis- The vast majority of respondents 322 (75.23%) indicated that there is a need of antifungal drugs in post COVID-19 mucormycosis patients. Nearly equal responses were opted regarding the spread of fungal infection through aerosol procedures and was highly statistically significant (p-value <0.05). Majority of the total respondents 312 (72.90%) replied that COVID-19 vaccination history should be mandatory for dental treatment and also about 370 (86.45%) indicated that steam inhalation is not useful in treating fungal infection and is found to be highly statistically significant (p-value <0.05).

(Table/Fig 4) shows the distribution of responses to practice towards post COVID-19 mucormyosis- More than half of the participants 238 (55.61%) had an idea of referring the patient to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon if they suspect for post COVID-19 mucormycosis and was found to be statistically significant (p-value <0.05). Majority of the participants 334 (78.04%) replied that the dental extraction will not be performed if tooth loosening or pus discharge is present and about 306 (71.60%) of the participants responded that tooth pain associated with headache is a watchful sign in diabetic post COVID-19 patients. Among all participants, 258 (60.28%) suggested that empirical antifungal treatment should be started if fungal infection was suspected and they were found to be highly statistically significant (p-value <0.05). Out of all, 242 (56.54%) of the participants agreed to the statement that candid paint and azole derivatives play a role in post COVID-19 fungal infection. Regarding the sample collection of fungal biopsy specimen nearly equal responses were opted for KOH solution and Sabaraud’s Dextrose Agar and it was found to be highly statistically significant (p-value <0.05).

Discussion

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease with fungal co-infections typically mucormycosis has been reported. It is attributed as a consequence of steroid therapy, uncontrolled diabetes, lung disease or as hospital acquired infection (12). Though the fungus spread by various routes commonly the most common route is through paranasal sinus>orbit>meninges>brain (13). This may results in cavernous sinus thrombosis, septicemia and multiple organ failure if prompt medical and surgical intervention had not done (14).

Healthcare professionals, especially dental teams, should be well-prepared to manage these patients pragmatically and symptomatically, emphasizing holistic support. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the development of many dental practice guidelines as a standard precaution component (4). Early identification of the disease with prompt medical and aggressive surgical intervention helps in successful management of this fatal infection (15).

A study conducted by Cicciu M et al., recommended that in COVID-19 recovered patients, it is necessary to perform an extensive intraoral examination to find any oral manifestation (16). This is in accordance with our study where 94.9% participants agreed that oral screening/dental examination is necessary for COVID-19 patients. To proceed with the dental treatment in post-COVID-19 patients, apart from routine preoperative assessment like complete blood count and random blood glucose, antibody test should be used to assess the status of the COVID-19 patients. This is in line with research done by Alfego D et al., who stated that antibody testing should be usually done after full recovery from COVID-19. IgG antibody test is a quantitative test for the detection of SARS-CoV IgG antibodies, usually becomes positive after 6-13 days of infection and peaks around 21 days. It indicates how many people had COVID-19 and recovered, including those who did’nt have symptoms (17).

In our study, more than half of the participants had an idea to rule out the clinical signs and symptoms related to post COVID-19 mucormycosis. For a rapid diagnosis, direct microscopy of KOH wet mount can be used as a first choice investigation for suspected fungal infection in post COVID-19 patients. Literature evidence supports that for a presumptive diagnosis of mucormycosis by direct microscopy of KOH wet mounts can be used (18).

A steep rise in cases of mucormycosis in post second wave of COVID-19 was because of with prescribing steroids early in the hope of avoiding the need for oxygen and hospital admission. Thus a combination of steroids, diabetes, lymphopenia and high ferritin might be the etiological factors contributing to this sudden rise in cases (19).

As most of the dental treatment are aerosol generating procedures, thus even with mass-scale immunisation, the protective measures for routine clinical practice that were used pre-pandemic might not be sufficient for potentially infectious aerosol (20). This is in accordance with our study where most of the general dental practitioners are more cautious in preventing transmission of virus and also to protect themselves in this pandemic situation by considering COVID-19 vaccination history as mandatory before proceeding dental treatment to the patients.

Though mucor (fungi) are ubiquitous in the environment, the major route of infection is via inhalation of spores, which then spread to the paranasal sinuses and lungs (21). This is in line with our study where the dental professionals were aware that fungal spread is a non contagious and does not spread from diseased person to healthy person by close contact, coughing or through droplets. There is no evidence that steam inhalation is effective in treating fungal infection, instead over steaming can contribute a warm and damp environment for the fungus and also that alone is unlikely to cause the disease. In our study, it was clear that the dental practitioners were aware that steam inhalation had no role in treating fungal infection. As per ICMR guidelines, the management of mucormycosis is an interdisciplinary team work which includes members from almost all departments including maxillofacial surgeons (22). In line with this recommendation, a high percentage of study participants showed a positive attitude to select maxillo-facial speciality as referral for the management of post COVID-19 mucormycosis.

Coming to the practice, the dental professionals did not prefer tooth extraction if tooth loosening or pus discharge is present. This can be attributed that high propensity of association of mucormycosis with extraction of tooth, which often get involved when fungal spores are inhaled through nasal route. Tooth extraction itself can cause further spread and fatal complications (23). In diabetic patients, craniofacial pain without swelling can be a neuropathic pain. It should not be confused with post COVID-19 mucormycosis if facial asymmetry or necrosis is not evident (24). This is in contrast with our study findings where most of the practitioners consider tooth pain associated with headache as a watchful sign in diabetic post COVID-19 patients to rule out mucormycosis.

As mucormycosis is angioinvasive, Surgical debridement (FESS-Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery/Orbital exenteration) will reduce the disease burden and allows better penetration of intravenous drugs, and limits further spread of the disease (25). Though it is in contrary to current study results, few more evidence suggests that the treatment strategy includes aggressive surgical treatment in addition with systemic antifungals like amphotericin B (lipid complex or liposomal), posaconazole or isavuconazole has to be instituted (26). If biopsy procedure is planned for mucormycosis, the specimen should be sent to the laboratory immediately for KOH mount and fungal culture (16). When instituted about the transporting medium multiple responses were received from the dental professionals in our study. The Lexington Medical Centre protocol for mycology specimen collection reveals that if there is no evidence of abscess/pus the specimen should be placed in a sterile container containng normal saline without preservative or else if pus is present it should be sent for pus culture (27). The results of the study showed adequate knowledge and awareness among dental professionals towards post COVID-19 mucormycosis.

Limitation(s)

This study was an online questionnaire study and it was limited to dental professionals who were able to be reached out through mail and social media.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the dental professionals who participated in this study demonstrated adequate knowledge about post COVID-19 mucormycosis and provided important insights regarding the practice towards post COVID-19 mucormycosis. This study has emphasized the role of dental professionals in the management of deadly infection mucormycosis. Dental professionals should also create awareness among the patients regarding the mucormycosis infection.

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DOI and Others

DOI: 10.7860/JCDR/2022/52715.16576

Date of Submission: Oct 07, 2021
Date of Peer Review: Jan 06, 2022
Date of Acceptance: Apr 19, 2022
Date of Publishing: Jul 01, 2022

AUTHOR DECLARATION:
• Financial or Other Competing Interests: None
• Was Ethics Committee Approval obtained for this study? Yes
• Was informed consent obtained from the subjects involved in the study? Yes
• For any images presented appropriate consent has been obtained from the subjects. NA

PLAGIARISM CHECKING METHODS:
• Plagiarism X-checker: Oct 08, 2021
• Manual Googling: Apr 16, 2022
• iThenticate Software: May 28, 2022 (13%)

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