What is this “Black Fungus”?
Black Fungus is a fungal infection, called mucormycosis or ” black fungus disease, “is rare but very dangerous. The fungus can develop in the nose, eye, or even in the brain. Indian health officials say those infected were barely recovering from covid-19 – the infection likely appears within 12 to 15 days after recovery. Most of them also had diabetes.
A black fungus is growing in more and more patients who have just recovered from the disease, causing severe infection, including the estimated mortality rate at 50%.
What is Mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis is a rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould, commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and rotting fruits and vegetables. “It is ubiquitous and is found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people,” says Dr Nair.
Mucormycosis affects the venous sinus, brain, and lungs and can be fatal in people with diabetes or severe immunosuppression, such as cancer patients or people with HIV / AIDS.
Symptoms of Mucormycosis
The indications of mucormycosis depend on where in the body the fungus is growing. Interact with your healthcare benefactor if you have signs that you think are associated with mucormycosis.
Symptoms of Rhinocerebral (sinus and brain) mucormycosis include
- One-sided facial swelling
- Nasal or sinus congestion
- Black lesions on the nasal bridge or upper inside of the mouth that quickly become more severe
Symptoms of pulmonary (lung) mucormycosis include
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Cutaneous (skin) mucormycosis can look like blisters or ulcers, and the infected area may turn black. Other symptoms include pain, warmth, excessive redness, or swelling around a wound.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal mucormycosis include
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Spread mucormycosis typically occurs in people who are already sick from other medical conditions.
So it can be challenging to know which indicators are connected to mucormycosis.
Patients with scattered infection in the brain can developmental status changes or coma.
How to identify the black fungus- Mucormycosis?
Dr Agarwal has listed some symptoms that can be used to identify contamination. Symptoms of mucormycosis comprise pain and redness around the eyes and nose, fever, headache, cough, bloody vomiting, bloody and black runny nose, pain in the stomach, stomach, face, and sinuses, discolouration.
The blackness of the nose, toothache, pain, and blurred vision, double vision, bulging of the eyeball, and the majority of mucormycosis infections have been observed in patients with Covid diabetes mellitus or those with underlying and undetected blood sugar”, said the doctor.
“The signs of mucormycosis include unilateral nasal blockage, blood spots, brown discharge from the nose accompanied by swelling of the cheeks. Slow and progressive swelling of the eyeball, headache, and decreased vision can eventually lead to a stroke cerebral or hemiplegia. Educating patients about the symptoms is essential, as it will help detect the disease.
Dr Chauhan said: “It is essential to identify the yeast infection at an early stage.
The infection usually begins in the nose, then spreads to the cheekbones, the roof of the mouth, eyes, and can enter the brain. Immediate consultation is necessary. with the doctor to avoid complications.”
Precautions to take for Black Fungus
“Patients, especially those with diabetes, those are taking immunosuppressants and steroids, or any condition that affects the immune system. Should take precautions such as controlling hyperglycemia, regular blood sugar monitoring, and the use of steroids and antifungal drugs only when prescribed by the doctor. Said Dr Jessani.
Dr Agarwal also gave other precautionary measures people should follow, saying, “Given the strong and growing Covid-eye connection, people should start physically distancing and washing their hands frequently with soap. Along with this, immunity is also vitally important. It also plays a crucial role in speeding up recovery even with infection.
Therefore, don’t compromise on the right food, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and cultivate a stress-free mind. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar. “Some of the other defensive measures the public can take against mucormycosis are to avoid dusty job sites and only to handle soil, moss, and manure with gloves.
Shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved tops should be worn when doing activities such as gardening. Maintaining the personal hygiene of the scrub baths is also helpful,” he added. Dr Chauhan gave some Ayurvedic precautions which can be trailed.
Home Remedies for Black Fungus
And if you are suffering from COVID, it is essential to maintain good oral and nasal hygiene. Steaming is recommended. You were putting two drops of Anu oil in each nostril once a day is also good. Oil extraction is recommended for oral hygiene.
You can practice it by taking a tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth and swirling it around for a few minutes, then spitting it out. Put two drops of rose water in each eye. You can also put a drop of pure cow’s ghee in each eye. The use of Ayurvedic toothpaste is excellent, and Ayurvedic eye drops. Make a glue of rock salt and mustard oil and rub it gently on your teeth and gums.
You can use glue of turmeric in sesame oil can also be used for oral maintenance and hygiene,” said Dr Chauhan. But he also warned patients, saying, “Don’t self-medicate. Always consult a doctor. Many people self-medicate, and in this process, the disease reaches an advanced stage when it becomes fatal. ”
“Educating patients about the symptoms is crucial because it will help in the early detection of the disease. Doctors should use extreme caution when using steroids. Avoid steroids for patients with mild illnesses managed at home or even in the hospital. We need to be careful or vigilant in avoiding steroids,” said Dr Dutt. He also explained why doctors were worried about the infection.
“When these fungi form clots in the blood vessels, they tend to behave like a stroke.
Chances are, you can’t revive the patient. The main reason we are concerned about mucor is how quickly it spreads. This rapidly spreading nature is due to vascular invasion,” he said.
Treatment for Black Fungus
“Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are needed. Black fungus is treated with specific antifungal medications that doctors must administer intravenously.” The most common drug includes amphotericin B, which is used to Treat Grave Fungal Contaminations.
Patients may require up to six weeks of treatment to get well. Your recovery depends on how quickly the disease was diagnosed and treated. Surgery is often needed to cut out the dead or infected tissue,” said Dr Jessani.
Dr Dutt further explained the antifungal medications used in the infection. “Amphotericin B is the only antifungal drug that is effective against this type of invasive fungus. There are three types of amphotericin B. Liposomal amphotericin B is the best quality and is therefore expensive. The side effects of liposomal amphotericin B are superficial, making it the most preferred form.
Dr Agarwal explained how vision affected by black fungus can be treated. “In case of vision loss, if patients can communicate with ophthalmologists in time, sight can be protected very well with proper treatment as soon as possible to see the doctor. Even with a mucormycosis infection that affects the eyes, it can be treated as medicine (antifungal amphotericin B) or surgery. Again, a timely or immediate diagnosis can permanently save the eye and, therefore, vision. ”
How many cases of Black Fungus are present in India?
Already overwhelmed by a pandemic wave that is difficult to control and thousands of cases of the Indian variant, India has observed for several weeks ” a pandemic within the pandemic, “believe some Indian doctors.
According to Indian health authorities, 9 Indian states have declared themselves on alert. Among them, the state of Maharashtra has reported over 2,000 cases of black fungus infections, and the state of Gujarat about 1,200 to date. Mainly Patients who have contracted the Covid-19 virus. On May 20, 2021, Telangana State also reported hundreds of black fungus cases.
The authorities are, however, unable to determine precisely the number of cases and deaths from mucormycosis. Each case requires an extensive follow-up. The head of the Government of Delhi, the capital, Arvind Kejriwal, announced specialized centres within three hospitals in New Delhi to prevent this black fungus and provide patients with appropriate treatments (antifungals).
Currently, more than 200 mucormycosis patients are treated there.
Black Fungus does non spread from person to person
What are the risks of transmission?
You catch Mucormycosis after inhaling fungal spores in the air or after a cut or burn to the skin.
However, it is not a contagious infection, so it does not spread from person to person.
Is it fatal?
Yes. According to data from Indian health authorities, the black fungus would have killed more than 50% of those infected in just a few days. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States cite a death rate of 54%. This rate can quickly increase if several organs are necrotic.
What is the diagnosis?
The diagnosis of black fungus disease is primarily clinical. Then confirmed by histopathology (study of the tissues under a microscope or in a fungal culture). In some cases, tomography Tests, such as a CT scan of the lungs (CT scan), sinuses, or other parts of the body, depending on the location of the suspected infection, may be needed.
What is the treatment?
The doctor should start treatment quickly when they diagnose or suspect the infection. Treatment for black fungus disease involves administering antifungal therapy ( intravenous amphotericin B or oral or intravenous isavuconazole) and surgery to remove infected and necrotic tissue.
This surgery comprises a risk of disfigurement. At the same time, it is essential to control and treat the underlying condition. For example, patients with a low white blood cell count should be given injections to increase their white blood cell count. Those with uncontrolled diabetes should receive insulin injections.
Prevention: How to protect yourself from black fungus?
It is difficult to avoid breathing fungal spores because the fungi responsible for mucormycosis are everywhere in the environment. In addition, there is no vaccine to prevent mucormycosis. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of developing mucormycosis. The doctor particularly recommends these good reflexes in people with a weakened immune system.
Try to avoid body parts with a lot of dust, such as construction or excavation sites. If you cannot avoid these areas, wear an N95 face mask. Avoid activities that involve handy contact with dust or soil, such as yard work. If this is not possible, wear shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when doing outdoor activities such as gardening in wooded areas. Wear gloves when handling items such as soil, moss, or manure.
To reduce the risk of developing a skin infection, disinfect and thoroughly clean any skin wounds with water and soap.
Also Read: White Fungus – Causes, Why are Covid-19 patients prone to white fungi?