dr. Sanjay Agrawal, Pharmaceutical Consultant, Ahmedabad
Black Fungus or Mucormycosis is a disease considered separate from Corona. The Black Fungus infection is currently more commonly seen in patients suffering from Covid 19 with diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer mellitus. It is a superficial fungal infection that is seen in the initial stages but is fatal in a much shorter time.
According to official reports, there have been more than 3,000 reported deaths in India from Black Fungus so far.
Black Fungus is also scientifically called Mucormycosis. It is a serious and rare infection caused by a group of fungi called Mucormycetes. According to the latest estimate, 90 people have died as a result of Black Fungus in Maharashtra. Four other cases of white mold have been reported to affect states such as Bihar. Few of the state governments have announced that Black Fungus is an epidemic in their states.
It is found abundantly in the environment, such as soil, decaying organic matter such as leaves, or compost or piles. It affects the areas where air can be breathed, such as nose, sinus and lungs. The main cause of the emergence of Black Fungus is the poor control of diabetes. It is the rarest disease that has been around for decades, but it has implications for health problems such as an organ transplant, HIV patients and other health problems that significantly reduce the immune system through the use of steroids.
The infection enters through wounds in the skin and affects the sinus, in severe cases the eyes and brain. The rise of the mucormycosis in this Covid 19 has somehow made the patients impatient about the current spread of the epidemic. This happens in so many areas. The increased use of steroids such as dexamethasone in diabetic patients attracts this infection in some cases.
Basically, with low immunity, the condition should affect you. Not everyone is susceptible to Black Fungus disease. There is uncontrolled and uncontrolled steroid therapy that makes things worse and not risky for the patients. If the patient’s immune system is weak as a result of a transplant or if those who have had a transplant are essentially on immunosuppressants or ventilators for a long time, then the risk factor is much higher.
Symptoms of Black Fungus include excessive runny nose, swelling and pain in the eyes, eyelid loss and blurred vision, dark spots around the nose and vision completely gone.
Doctors reported that the patients came to the hospital with such chronic symptoms. The spread of Black Fungus infection is quite fast. Vision is lost within a short period of time once the disease is affected. Some patients have to remove it surgically because it has spread through the eyes and brain. In some cases it is reported that both of the patient’s eyes have been removed and in some cases the jaws are infected. It is mainly due to the effect of Black Fungus infection in post-Covid patients.
Why are the Covid patients affected?
Black Fungus has been detected in patients who have recovered from Covid 19. These patients have undergone oxygen therapy in the ICU, where the humidifier is used. It is susceptible to a fungal infection caused by exposure to moisture.
How Does Black Fungus Affect Patients?
The Black Fungus begins to manifest as a skin infection in the air sacs. It mainly affects the forehead, nose, between the eyes and the teeth – cheekbones. If the nose is involved, the first warning symptom is a chronic sinusitis infection. It slowly affects the eyes, lungs and even spreads to the brain. Blackening of the area, discoloration near the nose, blurred vision, chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing up blood are very common. The blackening or discoloration occurs due to the necrosis of tissue.
When recovering from the Covid 19 patients, it occurs in the following ways;
1: Rhinoceros Orbit Cerebral Mucormycosis (ROCM)
It is popularly called orbital zygomycosis. The organs such as the nose, eye and brain are involved. The first symptoms observed in this case are vision loss, ptosis, diplopia and external ophthalmoplegia. If the infection is left untreated, this ROCM can systematically progress to acute vision loss. There is a severe headache.
2: Lung mucormycosis
It is the rarest fungal infection commonly found in immunocompromised patients. The fungus deliberately grows on rotting food, soil and animal feces. The patients who have inhaled the disease through the pores become infected. The post-Covid patients are undergoing oxygen therapy in the ICU. Using the humidifier is very sensitive to the spread of this fungal infection. Exposure to moisture is one of the biggest reasons for the spread of the disease.
3: Cutaneous mucormycosis
In this case, the skin is mainly involved. It is observed in poorly controlled diabetic patients and in immunosuppressed individuals. It is mainly developed by direct inoculation through trauma.
How is black mold diagnosed?
In the biopsy, a small sample of the affected tissue is analyzed in the laboratory and the evidence of mucormycosis under the process of fungal culture or microscope. The fluid model of the runny nose and mucus from the infected sinusitis is also tested for confirmation.
How can black mold be prevented?
The prevention of Black Fungus needs a certain amount of control. The patients recovering from the Corona must be tested in time to keep the sugar percentage in the blood accurate. Preventing this infection is possible if the doctors can inject the steroids into the patients on time. It is essential to give the correct dose of steroids as the patient is free from Covid. Maintaining personal and public hygiene is crucial. Never take steroids unless a doctor has been consulted about a specific drug.
Black Fungus mainly affects people with a weak immune system. Even if you feel the slightest symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. Wear a mask as you venture into gardens, dusty places and even waste areas. Wear clothes that don’t expose your skin much to the environment. Be exposed as little as possible. Wear a mask and dry it under sunlight.