What is Mucormycosis aka ‘Black Fungus’, its causes, symptoms and prevention 2021

What is mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. “It is ubiquitous and found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people,” says Dr Nair.

This rare kind of fungal infection affects only 1 in 10,00,000 people, but with an overall mortality rate of 50 percent. The disease is often characterized by hyphae growing in and around blood vessels and can be potentially life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS.

What causes black fungus infection or mucormycosis?

The fungal infection is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment in soil, air, or food. They enter the body through the nose, mouth or eyes and can affect the brain. if not treated on time. Health experts have claimed that ‘misuse of steroids’ or consuming steroids during covid treatment is the major cause of black fungus or mucormycosis.

Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. After the covid treatment, the immunity of the person is low which is why they become prone to the black fungus infection. People who are suffering from diabetes or Covid patients with diabetes have a high chance of getting infected.

Its Symptoms:

* Sinusitis — nasal blockage or congestion, nasal discharge (blackish/bloody)
* Local pain on the cheekbone, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling
* Blackish discolouration over the bridge of nose/palate
* Loosening of teeth, jaw involvement
* Blurred or double vision with pain
* Thrombosis, necrotic skin lesion
* Chest pain, pleural effusion, worsening of respiratory symptoms

“People in an extreme immune-compromised state are likely to contract this infection. Diabetologists across the country raise caution against the increased prevalence of mucormycosis during COVID-19, urging people to keep their sugar levels under check to reduce the risk.

How to prevent black fungus infection?

Dr. Saumitra Rawat, Member National Task Force, explains that when one witnesses symptoms like pain in teeth, eyes, or head, or blur in eyesight, there are chances he is suffering from black fungus infection. In this case, one should consult the doctor immediately. He suggests maintaining good hygiene to stay protected from black fungus infection. Taking bath daily and doing gargles are very effective. Nasal and oral care is very important.

Prof. Rajesh Malhotra from AIIMS, tells IndiaTV that people with diabetes are more prone to getting black fungus infection. He shares that diabetic people need to maintain their sugar levels and take care of the cleanliness around them. Even if you have recovered from Covid, it is important to wear masks so that the infection doesn’t enter the body. 

Can you get both covid and black fungus infection?

According to the ICMR, Covid-19 patients are at a higher risk of black fungus infections. These include patients who were taking steroids during treatment and were in the ICU for a long time at the hospital. Reports have also claimed that a covid patient can also fall victim to this rare fungal infection. 

According to a report in MedicineNet, fungal infections can occur to people who have tested covid positive and have existing comorbidities like diabetes or HIV.

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