A new report shows some COVID19 patients are diagnosed with a rare and severe fungal infection that is called mucormycosis. The disease is known as black fungus infection as well. Health experts have said that the infection is led by a group of molds that are known as mucormycosis. Mucormycetes grow in soil and decomposing organic matter like rotting woods and leaves. Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that these molds are ubiquitous and can be found in soil and air. It can be seen in the nose and mucus of healthy people. Dr. Akshay Nair, who is an eye surgeon, has said that these molds can easily enter the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin. After people start breathing in the fungal spores, the infection can take hold in the sinuses or lungs. Experts have said that after these molds enter inside the body they can transmit through the bloodstream and impact other parts of the body such as the brain, eyes, spleen, and heart. The authors of the report have said that in most cases, mucormycosis majorly affects people who have weaker immune systems. The CDC has said that it can also attack people who are dealing with diabetes and those who are taking medications that can suppress the immune response. The report has shown that a rising number of COVID19 patients in India seem to be catching this infection off lately.
Experts have said that in the state of Maharashtra, nearly 200 people have been diagnosed with mucormycosis after overcoming COVID19 infection. Around eight patients have lost their lives due to black fungus infection. Such cases are popping up in many states of Indian such as Delhi and Gujarat. The Indian government has placed an order for 5000 doses of the antifungal medicine amphotericin B to treat the infection. The head of India’s COVID19 task force, Dr. V K Paul has said that some people who have contracted COVID19 or have recovered from it have lost their lives due to black fungus. However, the outbreak is not that big. Experts in India are vigilant and monitoring the situation. Health experts have said that an increase in such infections might be due to the use of steroids in COVID19 patients, as these drugs are known to suppress the immune system. As per the scientists, patients who are dealing with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing this infection even without the use of steroids. Diabetes is a disease that weakens the body’s immune response, COVID19 worsens it, and when a steroid that helps treat COVID19 is given, it acts as fuel in the fire.
Many families that have asymptomatic COVID19 patients at home have treated them at home only. Therefore, it is possible that such patients will be exposed to molds after being given medicines and oxygen therapy at home in less sterile conditions. Several dozens of patients with black fungus have been identified in the state of Maharashtra in the month of April. A large portion of these patients has been dealing with diabetes and has recovered from COVID19 at home as hospitals have been overburdened due to a sharp rise in COVID cases due to the second wave, said the experts. The report has shown that around 11 patients have got their eyes removed surgically due to this fungal infection. Doctors have performed these eye surgeries as molds can easily spread through the eye to the brain. Experts have said that stuffy and bleeding nose, droopy eyelids, and blurred vision are some of the early symptoms of this fungal infection. In some cases, black patches as well can be seen on the nose.