“Black Fungus” or Mucormycosis is a disease that causes blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, and coughing blood. This disease usually infects people with a weaker or subdued immune system. As the second wave of the deadly Covid-19 virus batters India, a new disease has caused a new burden on the already tensed healthcare system. ICMR has informed that black fungus is very vulnerable to people with diabetes and people who have recovered from severe covid-19 infection.
The black fungus has already infected a large number of people from thirteen states and the union territory of India, it has also killed a significant number of people. For now, the number of case stand at 7,250 and the death toll stands 219.
The central government has already asked four states and one union territory to declare black fungus an epidemic as these places continue to see exponential growth in no of infections.
The central government has said in a press conference that, in the normal course, our body’s immune system successfully fights such fungal infections. However, we know that COVID-19 affects our immune system. Moreover, the treatment of COVID-19 patients involves the intake of drugs like dexamethasone, which suppresses our immune system response.
Due to these factors, COVID-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing the battle against attacks mounted by organisms such as micromycetes. The government spokesperson also said that there is a risk for the covid patients who are undergoing oxygen therapy to catch this disease has it has a humidifier where this fungus can easily grow. ICMR has found that this disease is very uncommon in patients without diabetes and has said that recovery depends upon early diagnosis and treatment.
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How to Treat Black Fungus?
According to the procedure suggested by ICMR, the infection can start with an infection of the skin, it can spread to other parts of the body. Treatment involves surgically removing all dead and infected tissue. In some patients, this may result in loss of the upper jaw or in some cases even the eye. Remedies can also include a 4-6 week course of anti-fungal treatment. As it affects various parts of the body, treatment requires a team of young biologists, internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, ENT specialists, veterinarians, dentists, surgeons, and others.
ICMR also stressed Covid-19 patients with diabetes to take utmost care. It has also asked all the covid-19 recovered patient’s to not lower their guard and take high precautions.
ICMR has asked the doctors to give a controlled prescription of steroids and Covid-19 drugs like Tocilizumob, Itolizumab as these drugs are known to suppress immunity. Hospitals are strictly advised to keep hygienic and sanitary conditions all the time to keep the fungal infection away. Covid-19 patients on oxygen support in ICU with humidifiers are advised to ensure the water in the humidifier is kept clean and refilled regularly. Hospitals are advised to avoid wet surfaces where fungus can breed. Patients are advised to wash hands regularly and keep their body clean.
The press statement released by the government on “Black Fungus”.