Mucormycosis: Deadly black fungus on the rise in India


Amid the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in India, a concerning rise in the serious fungal disease called mucormycosis, has been seen in patients who have recovered from Covid-19 in several states. Medically known as 'mucormycosis', this black fungal infection has been reported in over 200 coronavirus patients across the nation.

Mucormycosis has become a talked about subject after a few recovering and recovered COVID-19 patients were found infected with the fungus. As the black fungal infection is spreading in many Indian states, following is the detailed information about Mucormycosis or the black fungal infection.

What is Mucormycosis or Black Fungal infection?

Mucormycosis or black fungal infection is caused when a patient inhales a group of moulds (mucormycosis) present in the air. The moulds then spread into the lungs, cavities and chest cavities, making the condition of a patient serious and complicated. Although mucormycosis is rare, it is a serious infection. Doctors in some states across the country have also noted a surge in cases of mucormycosis among people hospitalized or recovering from COVID-19, with some requiring urgent surgery. However, this black fungal infection on the other hand, does not pose a major threat to those with a healthy immune system.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis

The symptoms of mucormycosis or black fungal infection usually appear when a person has recovered from the Covid-19 infection. And in some cases, the infection appears during recovery. Following are the major symptoms:

  • Severe Headaches

After the patient inhales the moulds present in the air, it travels down to nerves and sinus cavities causing an extreme headache to the patient.

  • Vision Impairment

Vision distortion or changes to the eyes is one of the signs of the black fungal infection. The patient can also experience swelling in an eye, poor or hazy vision or bloodshot eyes.

  • Swelling on Face

Swelling and pain in the eyes, cheeks and other parts of the face can be warning signs of mucormycosis infection. The infection can also affect the skin giving rise to multiple necrosis, lesions like symptoms.

  • Affect mental state

This infection can travel up to the brain causing symptoms like memory loss, altered mental state, delirium or neurological impairment.

  • Discolouration around the bridge of the nose

Patients can experience black patches around the nose and eyes. Apart from this, the fungal infection can also cause the loss of teeth.

Other symptoms include - fever, cough, sinus pain, blisters, ulcers and nasal congestion.

Treatment of the black fungal infection :-

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

Medical treatment for Mucormycosis or the black fungal infection includes:-

  1. Installing peripherally inserted central catheter.

  2. Maintaining adequate systemic hydration.

  3. Infusion of normal saline intravenously before Amphotericin B infusion and anti-fungal therapy for at least six weeks. 

  4. Monitoring the patient clinically with radio imaging for response and to detect disease progression.

In some cases, it can require surgery and it might eventually lead to loss of the upper jaw and sometimes even an eye.

The Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on Friday, May 14, has also directed people on the early detection and management of Mucormycosis. Dr. Harsh Vardhan further stated, "Awareness and early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection."

It has also been reported that some believers in Gujarat have been visiting the cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope that it will boost their immunity against, or help them recover from, COVID-19. However, doctors have warned that cow dung does not offer any protection from the COVID-19, but may cause other infections including mucormycosis or black fungus.

The Central government advisory on Sunday, May 9, said that Mucormycosis or the black fungal infection, can be prevented by controlling diabetes, discontinuing immunomodulating drugs, reducing steroids and extensive surgical debridement- to remove all necrotic materials.

However, one should always keep in mind that Mucormycosis is a very rare disease. Vulnerable groups include people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. These include those with diabetes, cancer, or those who have had an organ transplant.

Gaisiam Rongmei

Gaisiam Rongmei

Total 25 Posts. View Posts

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