Who can get black fungus?

  Who can get black fungus?

The second wave of COVID-19 continuous across India and badly impacting the people. This new second strain has affected the entire nation, the medical infrastructure is on its knees helpless to save people. As India gasps for the supply of oxygen, this mutation has been more devastating than the first one. With this second wave, a new symptom has been discovered which is causing distress amongst the people. Mucormycosis which is also known as Black Fungus infection it is linked with COVID-19 has started to appear across the hospitals in the country. The ‘black fungus’ is present in the environment with suppressed immunity which is more vulnerable to its infection.

According to the experts though there is no specific record of the official number of Black fungus cases in India. But an estimation taken by the computational model by international health experts predicts about 1750 to 2500 cases of black fungus daily in India. Whereas in the western India state of Maharashtra there have been more than 2000 mucormycosis patients and where the neighbor Gujarat state witnessed about 300 cases. The experts say “ The infection typically hit the body two to three weeks when it is into the steroid therapy and the concern is that it is just the beginning and we have no clue how to deal with this. “

Mucormycosis or Black Fungus:  It is a fungal infection is caused by a group of molds called mucormycosis. The molds live throughout the environment, it mainly affects people who have health problems or those who are taking medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight against germs and sickness. According to a recent study by the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), black fungus cases have an overall-cause mortality rate of 54%. However, this rate may vary depending on the patient's condition, type of fungus, and body type of immunity. The second wave has witnessed the black fungus has pushed several COVID- recovered patients back into the ICUs. The infection causes terrible pain and also led to blindness among 20-30% of the infected individuals as per the reports. The loss of eyesight is caused when the fungus grows behind the eye and compressing the optic nerve.

Causes of the black fungus:  The micromycetes are caused by a group of mold called mucormycosis. These deadly fungi are naturally present in the environment, especially in the soil and other decaying organic matters like leaves, compost piles, and animal dung. It is discovered that most people come in contact with microscopic fungal spores every day, it is almost impossible to completely avoid these mucormycosis. One can avoid direct or close contact with soil, dust, polluted water. This deadly fungus made the medical infrastructure helpless as it direct attack the eyesight of the COVID patient. For this not to happen isolation in the cleanest dust-free place is needed. This infection can happen to anyone and people with diabetes, HIV or AIDS, Cancer, Organ transplant, Stem cell transplant, Injected drug use, Bad health from poor nutrition, Premature birth and uneven levels of acid in your body have a higher risk.

Who can get infected by Black fungus? 

 According to the experts the people with a good immune system the impact of black fungus is not a threat for now, yes but people who have poor immunity are prone to suffer from this deadly infection. Individuals with low immunity are more vulnerable to this fungal infection. This has been the main reason why people suffering from sudden death and people are shifted to the ICU in an emergency. In a current scenario, this infection is affecting COVID-19 with weakened immunity and high blood sugar. According to the experts, the COVID-positive individuals with added comorbidities like diabetes, cancer, and kidney or heart failure are observed to be suffering from black fungus at a higher rate.

Black fungus is not contagious and it is not transmitted between people and animals. Individuals contract this infection by coming in contact with the fungal spores in their environment. The spores directly infect the lungs or sinus, if the fungus enters the skin through any cut or burn there is a higher risk of developing mucormycosis on the skin. This usually spread from the bloodstream and directly reach the organs like brain and heart. Experts say in the hospital the outbreak of black fungus is related to water leaks, poor air filtration, non-sterile medical devices, and building construction. 

Symptoms of Black fungus: From the report to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) the symptoms of black fungus depend on where the fungus is spreading and growing in the part of the body. One-sided facial swelling, headache, nasal or sinus congestion, and black lesions on the nasal bridge. The upper inside of the mouth becomes severe and in the lungs fever, cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Losing eyesight is also one of the severe symptoms. Prevention of this deadly fungus should be done from the beginning when it is diagnosed to avoid the risk of death.

Treatment for the Black fungus: According to a report by the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) the treatment for black fungus is with prescription antifungal medicine which amphotericin B, posaconazole, isavuconazole these medicines can be taken orally or through IV. Sometimes the infection often requires surgery to cut away the infected tissue. Often surgical intervention is needed according to the Samadhan Dental Super Specialty Center in Dhule, Maharashtra, they treated nearly 50 former COVID-19 patients with a black fungus of the jaw. Where 25 of the patients got their jaw fully or partially removed to stop the spread of the disease.

ICMR Guidelines for Black Fungus: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union health ministry have done some evidence-based advisory for screening, diagnosis, and management of the disease. According to the ICMR black fungus if uncared for it may turn out to be fatal because the sinuses or lungs of the individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from the air. The black fungus has premium symptoms such as pain and redness around the eyes and nose, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits, altered mental status, and fever. And care should be taken when the symptoms appear in the beginning.

The COVID-19 patients who have diabetes and immune-suppressed person, one can suspect black fungus if there is sinusitis, one-side facial pain, blackish discoloration over the bridge of the nose or palate, toothache, blurred or double vision with pain. According to the ICMR- health ministry advisory stated to prevent the disease, blood glucose levels should be monitored post-COVID discharge as well as in diabetic patients. During this time clean sterile water should be used in humidifies during oxygen therapy, antifungal medicines should be used correctly.

Though the time is really tough looking at the current scenario with wide-open eyes is important and not to lose hope that one day everything will be fine. Taking care and being at home safe is the most efficient thing to consider. Remember as long as you are alive there is hope and as long as there is hope we are alive and there is life. Always wear a mask whenever going outside, take care of the people around you.


A rare black fungus is infecting many of India's COVID-19 patients—why? (nationalgeographic.com)

Black Fungus Symptoms | Black Fungus Treatment, And How It is Different from Skin Fungal Infection (india.com)

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