What Are The Early Symptoms of Black Fungus?
Updated On Jul 04, 2021
Table of Contents
- What is Black Fungus?
- Who Is At The Risk of Black Fungus?
- Symptoms of Black Fungus
- Treatment of Black Fungus
- Dos and Don'ts of Black Fungus
- Take Away
India has recorded over 11,00 cases of Black Fungus (Mucormycosis) till now. The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have registered the highest number of Black Fungus cases, as per the latest government data.
The Health Ministry had recently asked all states to declare Black Fungus infection an epidemic and report cases of the infection as soon as possible. The infection has emerged as a new challenge in India's ongoing fight against the pandemic-declared COVID-19.
What is Black Fungus?
Black Fungus or Mucormycosis is a rare and life-threatening fungal infection caused by a group of moulds, known as Mucormycetes.
These moulds are primarily found in soil, plants, manure and decaying fruits and vegetables, which makes them contagious. It can also be found in the mucus present in the human nasal cavity.
Who Is At The Risk of Black Fungus?
COVID-19 recovered patients who have ailments like Diabetes, Heart and Kidney Diseases, and Cancer diseases are more vulnerable to this spread of infection.
The COVID-19 patients who have undergone oxygen therapy in presence of a humidifier in the ICU, are more prone to the infection due to the presence of moisture. Also, steroids and drugs given during COVID-19 treatment decrease the immunity of the human body thus, making the patients susceptible to the attack of Mucormycetes.
Symptoms of Black Fungus
The most common symptoms include discolouration of the nose and tongue, blurred vision, breathing difficulty, fever, cough, headache, chest pain, sore eyes and black lesion in the mouth.
This fungal infection affects the sinuses, lungs and brain. Based on these target organs, this infection has been classified. Let us look at the symptoms of the different types of Mucormycosis:
1. Rhinocerebral Mucormycosis(Sinus and Brain)
- Partial face swelling
- Nasal or Sinus Congestion
- Black Lesions on nasal bridge
2. Pulmonary Mucormycosis(Lungs)
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
3. Cutaneous Mucormycosis(Skin)
- Blisters or ulcers on the skin
- Excessive redness
- Swelling of the wound
4. Gastrointestinal Mucormycosis
- Abdominal Pain
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Treatment of Black Fungus
If experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must seek immediate medical advice. The doctors conduct MRI and CT scans to detect the infected organ like the sinuses, lungs or brain.
Since the moulds of Mucormycetes are present in the nasal discharge, all the fungal and necrotic tissues are removed from the nasal cavity and medical treatment is carried out.
The most prominently effective drug to cure this Black Fungus is ‘Amphotericin B’, whose injections are the primary treatment for this infection.
Sometimes in life-saving circumstances, the tissues affected by the fungus are surgically removed resulting in loss of the infected organs like eyes, nose, etc.
Dos and Don'ts of Black Fungus
If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, and have Diabetes, Kidney or Heart disease or Cancer, then you should follow these Dos and Don'ts to keep yourself shielded against the infection:
- Control high blood sugar levels
- Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly post-recovery
- If undergoing oxygen therapy, use clean humidifiers
- Use drugs or medicines, only when prescribed
- Do not ignore the symptoms of Black Fungus, though mild
- If suffering from blocked nose post-recovery, seek medical advice immediately
- If suggested to undergo any medical procedures, do not think twice
Black Fungus or Mucormycosis has high fatality and mortality rates. If not treated on time, the mortality rate can rise to 80%, but if the patient is detected at the initial stages of the infection, the rate reduces to 40-50%.
This infection preys on recovered COVID-19 patients who have weak immunity and underlying ailments like Diabetes. It is fueling the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting in a huge loss of lives.
If you experience any mild symptoms, do seek medical advice and if the symptoms are severe, do visit the hospital for the cure. Any delay or ignorance towards this can cost you a lot.
Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.