Worldwide countries are struggling against second wave and rapid increase in the Covid 19 cases. But an awful and uncommon fungal infection affecting some of the patients in addition to corona virus infection.
Mucormycosis, also called as black fungus is a serious fungal infection, is being affected frequently in Covid 19 patients across India. As of May 2021- 8,848 cases of Covid-19 associated black fungus / mucormycosis had been reported around different states in India.
What is black fungus?
Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) is a serious fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.These fungi lives in the environment, mainly in soil, decayed vegetables, fruits, compost pits,animal dung etc.
Rhizopus species, Mucor species, Rhizomucor species, Syncephalastrum species etc are different types of this fungi which commonly causes mucormycosis. Rhinocerebral (sinus and brain) mucormycosis is an infection in the sinuses that can spread to the brain. This form of mucormycosis is most common in people with uncontrolled diabetes.
The people get contact with this fungi by inhalation of spores, swallowing of spores through food or medicines and spores came in to contact with cuts and wounds in the skin.
These fungi are harmful for people who have weakened immune systems or damaged tissue and those people who are using corticosteroidal drugs, which leads to the suppression of immune system.It also spreads in hospitals and homes by the use of air humidifiers and oxygen tank containing dirty water.
The average fatality rate is 54 percent, according to the CDC. Sometimes surgeons need to remove patients’ nose, eyes or even their jaw to prevent it getting to the brain.
Why are coronavirus patients at risk ?
People with diabetes and obesity have a tendency to broaden more intense Covid-19 infections. It may leads to receive corticosteroids, which might be often used to deal with Covid-19. but the corticosteroids together with diabetes increase the chance of mucormycosis.
On poor management of diabetes and increased blood sugar level will leads to form an acidic nature to the tissues.This environment will be suitable for the growth of the mucorales fungi.A latest summary of Covid-19 related mucormycosis in India confirmed 94% of patients had diabetes.
So damage to tissue and blood vessels from Covid-19 infection, treatment with corticosteroids, excessive history rates of diabetes are increase the growth susceptibility of this fungus.
Sign and symptoms ?
Symptoms of Mucormycosis or black fungus, include headache, fever, pain under the eyes,chest pain and breathing difficulties/ nasal or sinus congestion, facial deformity, facial pain and partial loss of vision(blurred or double vision). It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life threatening in immunity weakened people.
Treatment for black fungus ?
Normal saline (IV) infusion is administered for 4-6 weeks before the administration of antifungal Amphotericin B dose. This dose is given according to 3-4 mg per kg of body weight per day. In some cases, surgery may be required.
Preventive measures ?
wearing a mask is strictly advised,those people in more contact with soil by their job should wear shoes, long trousers as well as long-sleeved shirts and gloves.Everyone should maintain personal hygiene.Those who have diabetes need to keep it in control and monitor blood glucose levels, especially after the Covid-19 infection. Steroid use is to be reduced and immunomodulating drugs are to be discontinued with the advice of doctors.