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Mucormycosis or Black Fungus that is affecting some Covid-19 patients: Here is what is known so far

Mucormycosis or Black Fungus is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a killer fungus - Mucor, that exists in the environment, often found on wet surfaces.

At a time when India has been tackling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with cases crossing the 4-lakh mark each day, a new symptom of the deadly disease has emerged, causing a major worry among the population.

The latest symptom associated with the Covid-19 is ‘Black Fungus’, which has manifested in several patients across the country during the second wave of the pandemic in India. The life-threatening infection – ‘Black Fungus’ known as mucormycosis, has now been detected in Delhi, Maharashtra, and Gujarat among Covid-19 patients.

At least eight Covid-19 survivors have died in Maharashtra due to ‘Black Fungus’, while 200 others have been affected by the fungal attack and are being currently treated. The symptoms have now sparked panic among the people of the country, who are already battling the Chinese pandemic. However, the black fungus reportedly does not affect everyone.

So who does it affect? Here is what you need to know:

What is Black Fungus?

Mucormycosis or Black Fungus is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a killer fungus – Mucor, that exists in the environment, often found on wet surfaces. The Mucor fungus forms blackish moulds. People get mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment and is caused by exposure to Mucor fungus, often found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. 

The fungus causes the disease that has now been linked to the airborne Covid-19 infection. The infection was first reported during the first wave of the pandemic last year, however, it was previously known as zygomycosis.

Does it affect all population?

The outbreak of Black Fungus infection is not a cause of concern as it is not affecting general or asymptomatic patients, at least for now. It is believed that the fungal attacks are generally affecting Covid-19 recovered patients who have other comorbidities like diabetes, kidney or heart failure, cancer. In addition, patients who were administered steroids or have had a transplant are also facing symptoms. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States, it is most common in diabetic patients.

Interestingly, before the outbreak of the Chinese pandemic Covid-19, the Black Fungus was sporadic and found only in immunocompromised people. As coronavirus attacks the immunity system, the mucor fungus affects diabetic people and patients treated with steroids. As a result, Covid-19 survivors are vulnerable to the infection, especially during the severe second wave.

However, one can get treated with early detection and clinical intervention to the affected area. Usually, MRI scans can determine the extent of damage the fungus may have caused. If it is not undiagnosed or untreated, mucormycosis may result in blindness, removal of the nose, jaw-bone, or even death.

Common symptoms of Black Fungus

Some of the common symptoms that affected are generally facing is – One-sided facial swelling and headache. Some of them are experiencing Nasal or sinus congestion. Black lesions appear on the nasal bridge or upper inside the mouth for those affected by Black Fungus. One may also experience high fever if they come in contact with Black Fungus disease.

In addition to these, patients suffering from the infection typically have symptoms of a stuffy and bleeding nose, swelling of and pain in the eye, drooping of eyelids, and blurred or loss of vision. There could be black patches of skin around the nose.

How to prevent Mucormycosis or Black Fungus?

Using masks and covering oneself with shoes, long trousers, long sleeve shirts and gloves while handling soil (gardening), moss or manure. Maintaining personal hygiene, including thorough scrub bathing, may help people to avoid the infection.

The disease can be managed by controlling diabetes, discontinuing immunomodulating drugs, reducing steroids and extensive surgical debridement- to remove all necrotic materials.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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