What is the black fungus disease?

What is Black Fungus? 

Mucormycosis, or black fungus, is an uncommon but deadly condition. It is a kind of mold and it commonly affects the sinuses, lungs, skin, and brain. Mold spores can be inhaled or come into touch with them in soil, decaying vegetables or bread, and compost piles.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Ministry of Health released an advice for the screening, diagnosis, and management of Black Fungus on May 9, 2021. The illness can be lethal if COVID-19 patients with uncontrolled diabetes are not treated, according to the ICMR.

Black fungus has a 54 percent death rate and affects persons with weakened immune systems.

Maharashtra, the first state to be struck severely by India's second Covid epidemic, has already reported over 1,500 cases and 90 deaths, making it the country's worst-affected state. Hospitals in Delhi have recently began reporting an extraordinary increase of cases, with some hospitals reporting as many as 15 to 20 new cases each day, compared to one or two instances per month previously.

How dangerous is it?

Because the infection is aggressive, it must be discovered early and dead tissue scraped away. To prevent it from reaching the brain, surgeons may have to remove the patient's nose, eyes, or possibly jaw.

According to the CDC, the average death rate is 54 percent. People can die within days of becoming infected. According to the CDC, however, it is not communicable. India typically handles a few dozen cases every year.

The body's defenses often resist the fungus, and only people with extremely reduced immune systems — such as organ transplant recipients or cancer patients — are impacted.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone of any age can develop the virus. The fungus may come into contact with the majority of humans at some time during their lives. However, if your immune system is impaired as a result of a drug you're taking or because you have a health condition such as:

  • Diabetes, especially when it isn't under control, is a serious condition.
  • AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Cancer is a disease that affects people
  • Transplantation of organs
  • Transplantation of stem cells
  • Neutropenia is a condition in which the body's (low white blood cell count)
  • Steroid usage over a long time
  • Use of injected drugs
  • Your body has a lot of iron (hemochromatosis)
  • Bad nutrition causes poor health.
  • Acid levels in your body are unbalanced (metabolic acidosis)
  • Low birth weight or premature birth

It's also more likely if you have a burn, cut, or wound on your skin. People with COVID-19 have also been documented to have cases.

Mucormycosis is a contagious fungal infection.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis

Mucormycosis symptoms vary depending on where the fungus is developing in the body. If you develop symptoms that you believe are connected to mucormycosis, contact your healthcare professional.

Rhinocerebral mucormycosis (sinus and brain) symptoms include:

  • Face edema on one side
  • Pain in the head
  • Congestion in the nose or sinuses
  • Black sores on the bridge of the nose or the inside of the lips that swiftly worsen
  • Fever 

Symptoms of pulmonary (lung) mucormycosis:

  • Fever, coughing, and chest discomfort
  • Breathing problems

Cutaneous mucormycosis appears as blisters or ulcers on the skin, and the diseased region may turn black. Pain, warmth, extreme redness, and swelling surrounding a wound are some of the other symptoms.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal mucormycosis:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Bleeding in the intestines

Because disseminated mucormycosis usually affects patients who are already unwell from other illnesses, determining which symptoms are attributable to mucormycosis can be challenging. Mental status changes or coma can occur in patients with a disseminated infection in the brain.

What steps should be taken?

- See an ENT doctor or an ophthalmologist right away

- Follow the doctor's instructions for treatment

- Check your blood sugar level regularly and try to keep it under control

- If you have any other serious conditions, keep taking your medications.

- Do not self-medicate; instead, seek medical advice and have an MRI or CT scan performed.

Mucormycosis Diagnosis and Treatment

If mucormycosis is suspected, your doctor will do a physical examination and inquire about your medical history. If you've been around ruined foods or other areas where fungal spores are common, tell them.

If your doctor suspects you have a lung or sinus infection, he or she may remove a sample of the fluid from your nose or throat and send it to a lab for testing. They may also do a tissue biopsy, which involves the removal of a tiny portion of contaminated tissue for testing.

To determine whether the infection has spread to your brain or other organs, your doctor may use imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.

If you've been diagnosed with mucormycosis, you should start taking prescription antifungal drugs as soon as possible. These medications halt the fungus's development, kill it, and put the illness under control.

You might try:

  • Isavuconazole
  • Amphotericin B
  • Posaconazole 

These drugs are given to you either through a vein (intravenous or IV) or as pills to ingest. Your doctor may begin by administering large dosages by IV until the illness is under control, which might take several weeks. Then you'll start taking tablets.

If a medicine causes you to have stomach discomfort, heartburn, or difficulty breathing, tell your doctor. They might be able to help you modify your treatment approach. To prevent the fungus from spreading, your doctor may propose surgery to remove diseased or dead tissue. This may include the removal of portions of your nose or eyes. It has the potential to be disfiguring.

Mucormycosis Complications and Outlook

Mucormycosis can cause a variety of complications, including:

  • The inability to see
  • Clots in the blood or obstructed blood vessels
  • Damage to the nerves

Without treatment, mucormycosis can be fatal. The actual fatality rate is unknown due to the infection's rarity. However, experts predict that 54 percent of mucormycosis patients die. Which portion of the body is harmed determines the chance of death. People with sinus infections have a better prognosis than those with lung or brain infections.

Mucormycosis Prevention

It's impossible to avoid inhaling spores. However, there are a few things you may take to reduce your risk of mucormycosis. It's especially critical if you have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk.

Avoid places where there is a lot of dust or soil, such as construction or excavation sites. Wear a face mask like a N95 if you have to be in these regions.

Stay away from contaminated water. Floodwater or water-damaged structures are examples of this, particularly after natural catastrophes such as hurricanes or floods.

Avoid activities that include dust and soil, such as gardening or yard labor, if you have a weaker immune system. If you can't avoid it, wear shoes, gloves, long trousers, and long sleeves to protect your skin. As soon as possible, wash any wounds or scratches with soap and water. If you have mucormycosis, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions and take your meds as prescribed. If adverse symptoms persist or the illness does not improve, contact your doctor straight once.


Black Fungal Disease Infection Symptoms, Fungus Cause,Treatment (mpnrc.org)

COVID-19: Beware of Black Fungus (downtoearth.org.in)

Black Fungus: How to identify disease and what to do; Check AIIMS guidelines | India News – India TV (indiatvnews.com)

Symptoms of Mucormycosis | Mucormycosis | CDC

What Is Mucormycosis (Black Fungus)? (webmd.com)

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