Black Fungus Disease: Symptoms

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While India is battling the crippling second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors in Delhi have flagged a coronavirus infection-triggered fungal disease among the patients. Cases of Mucormycosis or Black Fungus have been previously recorded in several cities including Mumbai and Ahemdabad since late last year. Doctors had raised concerns over the increase in such cases in December 2020 and now again this week as there were as many as 12 cases within 15 days. A senior ENT surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr. Manish Munjal reportedly said that these cases are being registered in COVID-19 patients. 

Black Fungus Infection
Black Fungus Disease

What is black fungal infection?

The Black Fungus or mucormycosis that has been the new worry for the medical professionals in some cities, has also been the cause of death in transplants, and intensive care units (ICU) and immunodeficient people even in the past. But recently, the rare disease has recorded an uptick among the recovering COVID-19 patients. 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mucormycosis is “serious but rare” and is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. Mostly, the disease affects people who have prior health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to tackle germs and illness and is caused mainly by inhaling fungal spores from the air.

Symptoms:

The symptoms of mucormycosis depend on where in the body the fungus is growing, it can primarily impact any part.

If the fungus grows in sinus and brain -

  • One-sided facial swelling
  • Headache
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of mouth that quickly become more severe
  • Fever

Pulmonary (lung) mucormycosis include -

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Moreover, Cutaneous (skin) mucormycosis can lead to blisters or ulcers and the infected area can turn black. Other symptoms also include pain, warmth, excessive redness, or swelling around a wound. If the pathogen ends up in the gastrointestinal part, it leads to Abdominal pain, Nausea and vomiting, Gastrointestinal bleeding.

How is mucormycosis treated?

As per US CDC, “Mucormycosis is a serious infection and needs to be treated with prescription antifungal medicine, usually amphotericin B, posaconazole, or isavuconazole...Often, mucormycosis requires surgery to cut away the infected tissue.”

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