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Black Fungus Maiming COVID Patients

Written by
Dr. Disha Kandi Yermal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on May 17, 2021   -  5 min read

Abstract

Reports are showing an increase in the number of cases of deadly fungal infections even after recovery from COVID-19, and few cases of fungal infections are reported even during the treatment of COVID-19. Please read the article to know more.

Contents
Black Fungus Maiming COVID Patients

What Is Black Fungus?

It is also called Zygomycosis or Mucormycosis. It is a serious fungal infection caused by molds Mucormycetes. These are mucor molds that live in soil, plants, manure, decaying fruits, and vegetables, etc.

How Do Black Fungus Maim COVID Patients?

Increased number of fungal infections post-COVID infection is being reported in the second wave of COVID-19. These opportunistic fungal infections were rare or none during the first wave of COVID-19 infection, but reports from different parts of India are showing an increase in the number of cases of deadly fungal infections even after recovery from COVID-19, and few cases of fungal infections are reported even during treatment of COVID-19.

Because of a lack of knowledge about these opportunistic fungal infections, there is a delay in the diagnosis of these infections. By the time the patient reaches the higher centers for the treatment, the infection will be in its advanced stage. Irrespective of the age of the patient, its spread is rapid and dangerous as these are life-threatening conditions. COVID-19 patients, even after recovery from the Coronavirus, are prone to develop severe opportunistic infections. There are many reports of the development of severe opportunistic fungal infections such as:

When we talk about opportunistic fungal infection, Candida and Aspergillus are more common infections, but Mucormycosis is fatal and life-threatening because its spread involves sinuses and the brain. A number of cases of deadly Mucormycosis have been reported in recovering COVID-19 infection, and mucormycosis is also known as black fungal infection. In this pandemic situation, this rare fungal infection is triggered by Coronavirus infection, and treatment protocol that involves the use of steroids causes reduced immunity of patients that ultimately leads to increased susceptibility for infections, apart from various other factors such as,

These factors in the body affect the immunity of a person that can trigger and increase susceptibility for such opportunistic infections.

What Are the Role of Steroids?

In case of treatment of Coronavirus infection, steroids are mainly given-

1. To reduce inflammation in the lungs that have occurred in COVID-19 infection.

2. To restrict the damage that occurred in the body of an individual due to coronavirus infection. But, there are some adverse effects of steroids such as,

So in the case of COVID-19 and mucormycosis, we can see all exacerbating factors like-

Who Are at Risk of These Opportunistic Fungal Infections?

Patients with risk for these opportunistic fungal infections are,

What Are the Symptoms of Mucormycosis?

Symptoms of Mucormycosis or commonly known as black fungus, are-

All these symptoms should be immediately suspected and addressed, and prompt biopsy should be carried out, and the start of antifungal treatment is needed as earliest as possible (under the guidance of a physician).

Fungal infections such as black fungus or mucormycosis treated early with antifungal drugs (under physician guidance) can prevent the patient from a complicated surgery. The surgery may involve eyes, nose, and jaw bone resection or removal to prevent further spread of infection to the brain. The mortality rate is high in this black fungus infection if diagnosed late or left untreated.

What Needs to Be Done to Prevent This Condition?

Prevention is the best way for such kinds of conditions. Prevention is carried out by avoiding or controlling the precipitating or triggering factors for it as there is no vaccine available for Mucormycosis. So, follow the preventive measures such as,

Conclusion:

Post COVID care and management of sequelae have become very important in the second wave of COVID-19 disease. Prevention of such opportunistic infections with utmost care is very important and mandatory to avoid further complications. Later awareness, prompt screening, diagnosis, and adequate, aggressive management of this fungal infection is a must as it is fatal if left untreated.

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Last reviewed at:
17 May 2021  -  5 min read

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