With rise in Covid-19 cases, black fungus cases also spike: All you need to know
Doctors at Delhi hospitals are reporting a rise in cases of black fungus, a rare fungal infection, also known as Mucormycisis, in patients of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Last year as well, doctors had flagged several cases of the Covid-19-induced infection after at least 10 people were found to be infected within 15 days.
A senior ENT surgeon in Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Manish Munjal said the hospital has seen six cases of mucormycosis in the last six days. "We are seeing a rise again in this dangerous fungal infection triggered by Covid-19. In the last two days, we have admitted six cases of mucormycosis. Last year, this deadly infection caused high mortality with many patients suffering from the loss of eyesight and the removal of the nose and the jaw bone," news agency PTI reported.
The doctor also said that the infection is commonly being seen in patients who are at the recovery stage but have comorbidities such as diabetes, kidney or heart failure or cancer.
The use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19 patients could be one reason for the fungal infection, according to doctors.
How serious is 'Black Fungus' or Mucormycisis?
It is a serious but rare fungal infection and is triggered by the viral Covid-19. In many cases, the infection has been a cause of serious complications and death of a patient in transplants, ICUs. It is a “serious but rare infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.” According to the advisory issued last year in India, Mucormycisis has an overall mortality rate of 50 per cent.
Covid patients with weak immunity are more prone to this deadly infection, said Munjal.
The infection most commonly affects the sinuses or lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air, or the skin after the fungus enters through a cut, burn or other types of skin injury. According to the advisory, it can occur in any part of the body.
It cannot spread between people or between people and animals.
Symptoms of the disease are face numbness, nose obstructions on one side, swelling in the eyes, or pain. It can also be accompanied by cough, fever, headache.
The infection may initially occur at the site of skin trauma, but it can quickly spread to another area. Doctors suggest to remain cautious of symptoms such as blackened skin tissue, blisters, redness, swelling.
"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," said Munjal.
People should also avoid direct contact with a lot of dust, wear shoes, long pants and gloves while handling soil or moss, and clean skin injuries well with soap and water.