HEALTH

All you need to know about “Black fungus” infection

By Shubham Gupta
Published 12 May, 2021

A number of cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as "Black Fungus", is being reported among people who are recovering or have recovered from Covid-19.

Such cases have been mainly reported from Surat, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra.

This fungal infection, which is triggered by Covid-19, is treatable.

However, if left untreated or if the treatment is delayed, the rare infection can lead to loss of vision, and in some cases, increases the rate of mortality.

What is black fungus or Mucormycosis?

According to the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), mucormycosis or "black fungus" infection is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes that are widely found in the environment.

Source: India Today

Who is more likely to get the infection?

Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or have been on medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

Credit: Ninian Reid

Certain people are at a greater risk including people with 👉

Diabetes - especially with diabetic ketoacidosis, Cancer, Organ transplant, Stem cell transplant, Neutropenia (low number of white blood cells), Long-term corticosteroid use, Injection drug use, Too much iron in the body (iron overload or hemochromatosis), Skin injury due to surgery, burns, or wounds, Prematurity and low birthweight (for neonatal gastrointestinal mucormycosis)

HOW DOES MUCORMYCOSIS ENTER ONE'S BODY?

As per the CDC, people get mucormycosis through contact with fungal spores in the environment. Mucormycosis infections can occur if someone inhales the spores from the air or if the fungus enters the skin through a scrape, burn, or other type of skin injury.

WHAT ARE BLACK FUNGUS INFECTION SYMPTOMS??

The CDC says the symptoms of mucormycosis depend on where in the body the fungus is growing i.e., the sinus, brain, lungs or the skin.

Symptoms of sinus and brain mucormycosis are

  • One-sided facial swelling
  • Headache
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of the mouth that quickly become more severe
  • Fever

Symptoms of lung mucormycosis are

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms of skin mucormycosis are

  • Skin mucormycosis often looks like blisters or ulcers on the skin. The infected area may turn black.
  • Pain
  • Warmth
  • Excessive redness
  • Swelling around the wound

When do symptoms appear?

Usually, two-three days after a person has recovered from the Covid-19 infection. In some cases, the infection appears during recovery.

IS IT CONTAGIOUS?

No, mucormycosis is not contagious. The "black fungus" infection can’t spread between people or between people and animals.

MUCORMYCOSIS TREATMENT

Often, mucormycosis requires surgery to cut away the infected tissue. If mucormycosis is left untreated or if the treatment is delayed, it could lead to blindness. In some cases, it may result in death.

Advisory By the Government

Mucormycosis may turn fatal if uncared for, the Centre said. In an advisory, the government said the fungal infection mainly affects people who are on medication that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens.

Major risk factors for this disease include uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, malignancy and voriconazole therapy, the ICMR-health ministry advisory stated.