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What is black fungus or Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis
Mucormycosis

Recently we noticed lot of news related to the Mucormycosis that is black fungus, specially in eyes. And this is found in few cases that is emerging out after covid-19 infection. Should we worry about it? Of course, there have been few reported cases of it. Lets understand first what Mucormycosis is.

Mucormycosis is a very rare and deadly infection infecting patients of the novel corona virus (covid-19). It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables.

It affects the eye, sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS.

Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.

Steroids reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19 and appear to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off coronavirus. But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients.

It’s thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering these cases of mucormycosis.

Patients suffering from the fungal infection typically have symptoms of stuffy and bleeding nose; swelling of and pain in the eye; drooping of eyelids; and blurred and finally, loss of vision. There could be black patches of skin around the nose.

Doctors say most of their patients arrive late, when they are already losing vision, and doctors have to surgically remove the eye to stop the infection from reaching the brain.

In some cases, doctors in India say, patients have lost their vision in both eyes. And in rare cases, doctors have to surgically remove the jaw bone in order to stop the disease from spreading.

An anti-fungal intravenous injection which costs 3,500 rupees ($48) a dose and has to be administered every day for up to eight weeks is the only drug effective against the disease

One way to stall the possibility of the fungal infection was to make sure that Covid-19 patients – both in treatment and after recovery – were being administered the right dose and duration of steroids.

Reference: BBC

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