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Black Fungus Mucormycosis Infection: What it is, symptoms, preventive methods, and more

Do not consider all cases of blocked nose to be bacterial sinusitis, especially in the context of immunosuppressors and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators; It could be a Black Fungus infection, ICMR has warned.

May 19, 2021 / 09:36 AM IST
As a deadly second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage India, cases of mucormycosis, a rare life-threatening infection are being reported among COVID-19 patients. (Image: News18 Creative)

As a deadly second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage India, cases of mucormycosis, a rare life-threatening infection are being reported among COVID-19 patients. (Image: News18 Creative)

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection caused that was rare until recently. In the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, India has seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 patients suffering from Mucormycosis or Black Fungus. Maharashtra alone has recorded around 2,000 Black Fungus cases and eight deaths due to related complications.

So, what is Mucormycosis?

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 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.

What are the symptoms of Mucormycosis?

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Pain and redness around eyes and/or nose.

Fever

Headache

Coughing

Shortness of breath

Blood in vomit

Altered mental status

Factors that may lead to Black Fungus infection:

Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus

Immunosuppression by steroids

Prolonged hospital stay

Co-morbidities – post-transplant/ malignancy

Voriconazole therapy

When to suspect Black Fungus infection in COVID-19 patients, diabetics, immunosuppressed persons:

Sinusitis: When the patient complains of nose blockage or congestion, and there’s black or bloody nasal discharge. There can be local pain on the cheekbone in some patients

Pain in one side of face culminating in numbness or swelling

Blackish discolouration over the bridge of nose/palate

Toothache along with loosening of teeth, jaw involvement

Blurred or double vision with pain

Fever

Skin lesion

Thrombosis and necrosis

Chest pain, pleural effusion, haemoptysis, worsening respiratory distress

Dos and Don’ts to reduce risk of Mucormycosis:

Dos:

Control hyperglycemia

Monitor blood glucose post-COVID-19 discharge and also in diabetics

Use steroids judiciously: Correct timing, doses, and duration

Use clean, sterile water in humidifiers during oxygen therapy

Use antibiotics/ antifungals judiciously

Don’ts:

Do not overlook warning signs and symptoms

Do not consider all cases of blocked nose to be bacterial sinusitis, especially in the context of immunosuppressors and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators

Do not hesitate to seek aggressive investigations, as appropriate (KOH staining and microscopy, culture, MALDI-TOF) for detecting fungal etiology.

Do not lose crucial time to initiate treatment

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Moneycontrol News
first published: May 13, 2021 07:07 pm

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