All You Need to Know About the Black Fungus

As per the latest reports, the number of people dying from black fungus is increasing. Experts quoted it calling ‘Pandemic within Pandemic’.

Here is everything you need to know about the Black Fungus – Causes, Treatment, and Cautions.

What is Fungus?

What is Fungus?

Fungus is organisms separated from human and animal kingdoms.

They are found everywhere in the nature from soil, plants, air, water, and also in humans and animals.

There are about 144,000 species of fungi. Some of these are harmful or pathogenic to humans.

The most common ones are Histoplasma and Mucoromycetes. 

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How do Fungi affect Humans?

How do Fungi affect Humans?

As mentioned, Fungi is present everywhere.

Our body mechanisms keep fighting against these omnipresent organisms.

But once the immune system becomes weak, these organisms take an upper hand and unleash lethal infections.

In general, fungi do not cause any infections in humans but it can cause sickness and weaken the immune system.

This will in turn create ‘opportunistic infections.’ Some of the infections include.

  • Breach in skin
  • Nail infections
  • Ringworm
  • Cutaneous infections following trauma
  • Sinus infections and lung infections
  • Gastro or intestinal effects in some cases

What does Fungus Effect?

What does Fungus Effect?

A fungus invades the body tissues.

These can cause diseases confined to the skin but sometimes it spreads to bones and organs and, also affects the whole body.

People with reduced immune response are more susceptible to fungal infections.

Conditions which decrease immune capability include:

  • Diabetes: High blood sugars invite the rapid growth of fungal organisms. Diabetes also reduces immune responses
  • Blood malignancies, hematologic or blood cancer which results in the defective immune system
  • Hematological stem cell recipients, patients with excess iron intake
  • People taking steroids will also be prone to high blood sugar levels which decreases the immune response of the body 
  • Infections can also be caused due to trauma or post-trauma
What is Black Fungus or Mucormycosis?
What is Black Fungus or Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is the academic name for the Black Fungus. It is a serious but rare fungal infection. It is caused by a group of molds called ‘mucoromycetes’.

These molds are omni-present in the nature and effect people who have health problems or take medicines that decrease body immunity.

The Fungus commonly affects the sinuses and the lungs.

This can happen when a person inhales fungal spores present in the air. It can sometimes travel into depths of respiratory system.

This can destroy the lung tissues and compromise blood oxygen. From there, it can also spread into the blood circulation resulting in lethal existential crisis.

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Why is it occurring in COVID-19 Patients?
Why is it occurring in COVID-19 Patients?
  • The ones undergoing oxygen therapy in ICU where humidifiers are used were found affected by the fungus. Humidifiers may cause infection due to exposure to moisture
  • The use of ordinary tap water in flow meters of oxygen cylinders
  • Mould tainted oxygen pipers and humidifiers
  • Unnecessary or excessive steroid consumption
  • Some doctors argued that the root of black fungus is due to patients taking home COVID-19 treatment without bringing blood sugar levels into control
  • Some experts have also said that most of the patients are the ones with unhygienic practices
  • Poorly ventilated rooms and air-conditioning
Is Black Fungus contagious?
Is Black Fungus contagious?

The disease is not communicable or contagious. It does not spread from one person to other unlike viruses.

What are the Symptoms of Black Fungus?

Common symptoms of the disease include:

  • Discoloration of nose or tongue
  • Blurry vision
  • Breathing problems and subsequent chest pain
  • Coughing along with blood
  • Fever, cough, and headache
  • The black lesion in the mouth and vomiting
  • Darkening of skin, peeling, and rashes
  • Deformed toenail and itching
  • Vaginal discharge in women
Is Black Fungus lethal and life-threatening?

Experts claim that these infections are highly life-threatening. If not treated, it could lead to death in most cases.

The mortality rate at present is 25% to 90%. Importance must be given to early diagnosis and measures must be taken to avoid the disease.

Treatment and Diagnosis

Amphotericin-B injection is the major treatment for this fungal infection.

If found infected, a patient must be kept under the supervision of eye surgeons, ENT specialists, and neurosurgeons.

As a part of life saving procedures, infected tissues need to be surgically removed which is why some people end up losing eye sight and in some cases, upper jaw.

Once the clinical or radiological diagnosis is made, endoscopic evaluation of nasal cavity is made which can confirm fungal lesion.

If confirmed, immediate surgical de-bulking is must.

The surgery involves removing eye socket contents which leads to loss of vision. If the infection is spread to the brain, intracranial decompression is made.

Is Black Fungus
  • Control high blood sugar levels
  • Monitor blood sugar levels, Total Blood counts regularly post-COVID recovery
  • Use clean and sterile water in the humidifier for oxygen therapy
  • Use steroids only if prescribed by the doctors
  • Maintain high immunity and balanced diet
  • Maintain hygienic practices
  • Consult a psychologist in cases of trauma. Avoid posttraumatic effects. Trauma can cause Cutaneous Fungal Infections (CFI)
  • Do not neglect or overlook the symptoms of Black Fungus
  • Do not take blocked nose or usual cough lightly especially after recovery from COVID-19
  • Beware of Steroids
  • Beware of misinformation circulation and do not follow any practices blindly
Latest Facts
  • Nearly 9000 cases of this rare infection were reported in India.
  • People who did not get COVID-19 but have a history of Blood Sugar, Medication, and Chemotherapy are also getting infected.
  • Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat account for 60% of total cases.
  • Some of the rarest cases of intestinal infections were found in Delhi.
  • The Ministry of Ayush has recently come out with a Homeopathic protocol treatment for Black Fungus.
  • The Ministry of Health has pointed out that the disease cannot be treated from home. No medicines can be purchased from the medical stores.
  • Most of the newspapers and social media use the word “spread” but the Fungus does not spread. It is not a communicable disease.

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Written by Rohith Sai Stambamkadi

Rohith Sai Narayan Stambamkadi is a law graduate from the Birla School of Law and the founder of Indian Forum for Public DIplomacy (IFPD) and loves writing about Indian culture and lifestyle. He is a keen enthusiast of authentic ideas and an advocate of factual informative content. He writes well-researched articles on ethnic lifestyle and festivals celebrated in our country.

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