The country is going through a severe second wave of Covid-19 pandemic which has affected 2,33,40,938 people to date. Along with Covid second wave, reports of a mysterious infection, ‘black fungus’ affecting coronavirus patients are doing rounds. Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, can turn dangerous if left untreated, doctors have warned. It has been reported in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have weak immunity due to health problems for which they are on medication.
What is Mucormycosis also known as ‘Black Fungus’
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens.
Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from the air.
Predisposing factors for Mucormycosis or ‘Black Fungus’
Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
Immunosuppression by steroids
Prolonged ICU stay
Co-morbidities – post transplant/malignancy
Symptoms of ‘Black Fungus’
Loss of vision or pain in the eyes
Altered mental state, confusion
Swelling in cheeks and eyes
Toothache, loosening of teeth
Black crusts in the nose
Dos and Don’ts for ‘Black Fungus’ in Covid-19 patients
Do not avoid the signs and symptoms of black fungus infection. It can be very dangerous if it reaches the brain.
Monitor blood glucose level post-COVID-19 discharge and also in diabetics
Use steroid judiciously – correct timing, correct dose and duration
Use antibiotics/antifungals judiciously
Do not consider all the cases with a blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly in the context of immunosuppression and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators
Do not lose crucial time to initiate treatment for mucormycosis
Government take steps to ramp up availability of Amphotericin B – to fight Mucormycosis
A sudden increase in demand has been observed in some states for Amphotericin B which is being actively prescribed by the physicians to patients suffering from Mucormycosis, a post COVID complication. The Government of India is therefore engaging with the manufacturers to ramp up the production of the drug.
States have been requested to put in place a mechanism for equitable distribution of supplies amongst Government and Private hospitals and health care agencies.