After Black fungus, White fungus, and then Yellow fungus, now ‘Green fungus’ has become a major concern for the Covid-19 patients in the country.
A case of Green fungus infection has been reported in a Covid-19 survivor in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, which according to doctors, is possibly the first such reported case in the country. The 34-year-old, who had recovered from Covid-19, was infected with the Green fungus and he has been reportedly shifted to Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital by air ambulance for treatment.
So what is this Green fungus?
Green fungus, also known as ‘Aspergillosis’, is a rare infection caused by commonly found species of fungi known as Aspergillus. This particular infection can cause bleeding from the nose and high fever. The Green fungus can also cause severe weight loss and weakness.
There are over 180 known species of Aspergillus, however, fewer than 40 species are known to cause infection in humans, as per CDC. The common species that cause infection are A. flavus, A. terreus, A. niger
The fungus is found both indoors and outdoors, and most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day.
The doctors have recorded all these symptoms in the Covid-19 recovered patient who was airlifted from Indore to Mumbai. However, doctors are yet to find the exact effects of the green fungus infection, and they are of the view that more research is needed on the nature of green fungus infection in people who have recovered from Covid-19.
Causes of green fungus infection
According to experts, one can be affected by Aspergillosis or Green Fungus from simply breathing microscopic spores of the aspergillus fungus. In normal circumstances, the body’s immune system suppresses the growth of any spores within the body, however, in certain cases, the body cannot suppress the growth of the spores.
Patients with weak immune systems and those recovering or suffering from lung diseases like Covid-19 are at a higher risk of developing aspergillosis. The cause of the rising number of fungal infections in Covid-19 patients has been attributed to various factors, including lung damage, overuse of steroids, weakened immune system, and lowered infection control in overworked hospitals.
Fungal diseases are not communicable as they cannot transmit from one human to another or between people and animals.
Experts say that Aspergillosis or Green Fungus infection is just another colour-coded fungal disease developing in Covid-19 patients and survivors. Earlier, it was black fungus, also known as mucormycosis, then came white fungus, aka candida, and last came the yellow fungus, also known as aspergillosis. According to experts, fungal infections have been named for different colours, but the same species of fungi are often causing them.
AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria has recently said, “There are various types of fungal infections such as candida, aspergillosis, cryptococcus, histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis. Mucormycosis, candida and aspergillosis are the ones observed more in those with low immunity.”
What are the common symptoms of Green fungus?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, invasive aspergillosis infections can have the following symptoms: Fever, Chest pain, Cough, Coughing up blood, Shortness of breath.
The CDC has also advised that patients, who have recently suffered or recovered from lung diseases like Covid-19, or people with currently weakened immune systems to protect themselves by avoiding dust, soil and other small particulate matter from entering their lungs by avoiding such areas and using N95 respirator masks.
How can oneself prevent from fungal infections?
As per health experts, fungal infections can only be prevented by maintaining good hygiene, oral and physical cleanliness. One should avoid areas with a lot of dust and stored contaminated water.
If one cannot avoid visiting these areas, they should maintain proper hygiene standards and wear an N95 respirator for prevention. Avoiding activities that involve close contact with soil or dust and washing your face and hands with soap and water regularly can keep you protected from such fungal infections.
What are Black, White and Yellow Fungus?
The life-threatening infection – ‘Black Fungus’ known as mucormycosis, has now been detected in Delhi, Maharashtra, and Gujarat among Covid-19 patients. Mucormycosis or Black Fungus is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a killer fungus – Mucor. 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.
White fungus, also known as candidiasis, is a serious fungal infection. According to the CDC, white fungus or invasive candidiasis will affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, or other parts of the body. Invasive candidiasis is caused by a yeast called Candida. However, it is not contagious in most cases.
Meanwhile, Yellow fungus causes laziness, loss of appetite, and weight loss in Covid-19 patients. In severe cases, the patient may experience pus leakage, a slow rate of healing of wounds, malnutrition, organ failure, and sunken eyes. The Yellow fungus infection is caused primarily due to poor hygiene.