MUCORMYCOSIS-A NEW ENTRANT

In the present condition where the second wave of coronavirus is alarming the whole world, something new has also barged in and is becoming a cause of worry-Mucormycosis. The Black fungus or “mucormycosis” in medical parlance is a new entrant into India, a rare and dangerous infection caused by a fungus by name “mucor” which can found on wet surfaces in general. These fungi are generally not harmful unless one has a weakened immune system. Black fungus is caused by mold found in moist places like soil or compost and are all pervasive in the environment. Black fungus attacks the respiratory tract. It is not contagious and does not spread from person to person. People get infected with mucromycosis , which are of several types, by breathing in fungal spores. Many people who were infected by COVID-19 were being infected by this deadly fungus due to low immune systems.

HOW DANGEROUS IS BLACK FUNGUS?

This disease is globally distributed , however its exact estimate couldn’t be placed due to insufficient data. Mucormycosis can become life threatening when it reaches the brain so doctors have to surgically remove eyes of patients to stop the infection from spreading too far and hence the infection needs to be detected soon and scraped off. The mortality rate considerably high in India due to delays in seeking medical attention and diagnosing the infection, and challenges and difficulties in managing the advanced stage of infection The estimates indicate that about 54% of people die of mucormycosis. Several people are also suffering from blindness as a result of this disease. The infection can also spread to other parts of your body through your blood. This is called disseminated mucormycosis. When this happens, the fungus affects organs like your spleen and heart. In severe cases, you might face several mental issues or also go into a coma. It can even be fatal at times.

WHO ARE ALL AT RISK?

  • Patients with Diabetes
  • People on immunosuppressants
  • People severely affected by COVID-19
  • People on ventilator support
  • Those with skin injury due to surgery or burns
  • Those who underwent organ transplant
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Long term steroid users
  • Premature birth or underweight birth

SYMPTOMS OF MUCORMYCOSIS

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Swelling on one side of the face
  • Headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sinus congestion
  • Pain in the belly
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Blood in your stools
  • Black lesions on the bridge of the nose or inside the mouth

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS?

  • Blindness
  • Damage to nerves
  • Blood clots

TREATMENT FOR THE INFECTION

An early identification of the symptoms and timely treatment can help in successfully treating the infection. The use of specific anti-fungal medicines when administered properly can cure the disease. The most commonly used medicines include Amphotericin B which is used for severe fungal infections. However, it is strongly advised that self-medication must be avoided.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES WE CAN TAKE FROM OUR END

  1. Wearing a mask while venturing out especially to garbage dumping, garden, dusty areas etc.
  2. Avoiding over exposure of skin.
  3. The blood glucose must be constantly monitored and controlled.
  4. Maintaining proper personal hygiene.
  5. One must follow the correct amount of steroids to be taken as advised by your physician.
  6. Ensure that clean water is filled in the humidifier for those who use oxygen cylinders.