Co-occurrence of rhino-orbital mucormycosis and acute lymphoblastic leukemia post-COVID-19 infection in a young adolescent male: A case report from a low middle-income country

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Key Clinical Message: Immunosuppression from B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) chemotherapy and a preceding COVID-19 infection may predispose patients to rare complications such as rhino-orbital mucormycosis. Hence, a high index of suspicion should be maintained by physicians (and oncologists) if patients undergoing B-ALL treatment present with orofacial symptoms and ophthalmological manifestations such as peri-orbital swelling, ophthalmoplegia, and loss of vision, suggestive of infection. Abstract: Mucormycosis is a severe fungal infection that poses significant mortality and morbidity risks, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. We present a rare case of a 16-year-old patient with rhino-orbital mucormycosis following B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) treatment and concurrent COVID-19 infection. We describe the clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of this patient, and discuss the possible interactions and implications of these three conditions. A young 16-year-old male patient without significant clinical history was admitted with complaints of low-grade intermittent fever, fatigue, malaise, restlessness, and unexplained weight loss for the past 2 months. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of B-ALL. Following the diagnosis of B-ALL, the patient underwent initiation of chemotherapy. Following the initial two cycles of chemotherapy, the patient experienced fever and cough and tested positive for COVID-19 infection. Nearly a week later, the patient presented to the chemotherapy emergency department with a clinical picture characterized by a fever up to 39°C associated with left facial swelling, severe headache, purulent rhinorrhea, and foreign body sensation in the ipsilateral nostril. The following day, erythema and left eyelid edema were observed, with ocular opening limitation. The diagnosis was confirmed based on the positive result of polymerase chain reaction for left-sided mucormycosis. Initial administration of liposomal and lipid amphotericin B at 1–1.5 mg/kg/d doses for 4–6 weeks was followed by surgical debridement of necrotic tissue on the left side of the face and nose. Subsequent ophthalmological examinations showed normal conditions of the left eye. The case underscores the importance of heightened clinical suspicion, early diagnosis through imaging and molecular techniques, aggressive multimodal therapy, and close interdisciplinary collaboration for improved outcomes in such rare and challenging clinical scenarios.

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Clinical Case Reports





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