mucormycosis black fungal infection

Doctors in at least two states in India, which is facing a devastating coronavirus second wave, are reporting a spike in a deadly fungal infection among coronavirus patients. 

Hospitals in the Indian capital Delhi and the western state of Gujarat have reported a surge in Mucormycosis, also known as Black Fungus, in patients with COVID-19 or those who had recently recovered from it, the Hindustan Times reported. 

Six patients admitted to Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram hospital over the last two days have developed the infection, and Gujarat has reported a sudden spike in cases, with no numbers available immediately. 

Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, can turn dangerous if left untreated, doctors said on Friday amid reports of re-emergence of the rare deadly fungal infection among Covid-19 patients across hospitals in Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad.

What is Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is a type of fungal infection with a very high mortality rate, reportedly killing nearly half of those infected if not treated early. Those infected with the fungus are also at risk of losing their eyesight or may have to get their facial bones removed if the infection spreads. 

Here is what the CDC says of the fungus: “Mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment.

Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. It can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn, or other types of skin injury.”

Black Fungus Infection Causes

The fungal infection is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

Mucormycosis Fungal Infection Symptoms

The common symptoms associated with the disease include headache, facial pain, nasal congestion, loss of vision or pain in eyes, swelling in cheeks and eyes and black crusts in the nose. The US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention estimates Mucormycosis with an overall all-cause mortality rate of 54 per cent.

Mucormycosis can be very dangerous if left untreated can cause mutilating damage to face, nose, eyes with disfigurement and loss of vision and also cause invasive brain infection,” Dr. Mahesh Kumar, Consultant -Internal Medicine, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru, told IANS.

While “Aspergillus and Candida are more common fungal infections, but this infection is dangerous because it involves the sinus and brain and happens to those who are in an immunocompromised state and/or to patients on steroids,” added Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and HOD, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

According to health experts, Mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) has been a cause of disease and death in transplants, ICU and immunodeficient individuals for a long. However, it is the rapid increase in numbers seen in unsuspected Covid patients which is a matter of grave concern.

Who will get infected with Black Fungus? 

Mucormycisis is a fungal infection triggered by COVID-19. Black fungus or mucormycosis has been a cause of disease and death of patients in transplants, ICUs and immunodeficient patients since long.

Treatment for Mucormycosis 

It is being said that the “overall mortality rate is around 50 per cent”, but early identification and treatment can lead to a better outcome. As per the experts, early clinical suspicion on symptoms such as nose obstruction, swelling in the eyes or cheeks and black crusts in the nose should immediately prompt a biopsy and start of antifungal therapy as early as possible.

Is Black Fungus infection Deadly?

If left untreated for too long it could be fatal, according to media reports, last year in Ahmedabad, mucormycosis was reported in five patients who were all either suffering from Covid19 or had recovered from it two of whom succumbed to the infection while two among the survivors lost their eyesight. Whereas, two out of the 4 similar cases from Bengaluru resulted in death. 

In fact, patients who recover from the Covid infection are increasingly being pushed back into the ICUs. Last year, Mucormycisis had caused high mortality with many patients suffering from loss of eyesight, removal of.

The news & graphics source: IB Times, AVB, ET & Forbes