In India, COVID-19 patients are developing a rare but fatal fungal infection, dubbed "black fungus." Right now, in India, with the country fighting an intense wave of SARS-CoV-2 , patients are having to suffer this as well. Odisha has detected its first case of mucormycosis or 'black fungus' in a 71-year-old Covid-19 patient with a known history of uncontrolled diabetes.

What is Black Fungus (Mucormycosis)?

Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. "It is ubiquitous and found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people. 

Black Fungus is a seIn India, COVID-19 patients are developing a rare but fatal fungal infection, dubbed "black fungus."rious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds that live in the environment called mucormycosis. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. The disease can be fatal.

This fungal infection cannot transmit between people and animals. Those who contract this infection do so by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment. It is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. Patients with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of contracting mucormycosis. That includes patients who have just recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

How is it diagnosed?

When the fungus starts in the sinuses and spreads through mucous membrane into the bones. It can also proceed through the bones to the eyes, eye socket, muscles and nerves. When that happens, surgeons often have to remove an entire eye to save a patient's life. It's a radical operation, but seen as the only way for doctors to remove infected tissue. This deadly fungus can also infect the brain.

Symptoms of Black Fungus?

Warning symptoms include pain and redness around the eyes and nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits and altered mental status, the advisory stated. 

In COVID-19 patients with diabetes and immuno-suppressed individuals, one must suspect mucormycosis if there is sinusitis, one-side facial pain or numbness, blackish discolouration over the bridge of the nose or palate, toothache, blurred or double vision with pain, skin lesion, thrombosis, chest pain and worsening respiratory symptoms.

What is the Treatment?

Mucormycosis is treated with anti-fungal drugs but can eventually require surgery.