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, officials said, news agency PTI reported. Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul had said that mucormycosis cases were being found in coronavirus patients.
Maharashtra, Gujarat have reported a rise in cases of the rare but potentially fatal infection.
Let’s take a look at the10 facts about mucormycosis, also known as the ‘Black Fungus’ infection:
1) ‘Black Fungus’ is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment.
2) Mucormycosis, to a large extent, is happening to people who have diabetes. It is very uncommon in those who are not diabetic.
3) Cases of mucormycosis is causing blindness or other serious issues, health officials in Maharashtra and Gujarat said.
4) This disease is not new but is on the rise among COVID patients because the use of steroids elevates sugar level and some medicines suppress the patients’ immunity, said Dr Tatyarao Lahane, who heads the state government’s Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
5) The ‘Black Fungus’ is present in the environment, and those with suppressed immunity or co- morbidities are more vulnerable to infection.
6) Symptoms of mucormycosis include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision.
7) The treatment involves injections for 21 days. The basic cost of the injections is around ₹9,000 per day.
8) This fungal infection came to light during the first ‘wave’ of the pandemic, typically a couple of weeks after the patient was discharged, said Dr Hetal Marfatia, professor and head of the ENT department at the government-run KEM hospital in Mumbai.
9) In an official statement, the Health and Family Welfare Department said that the situation is being monitored and the treatment for mucormycosis is available in the state.
10) Conditions like HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, mellitus cancers, organ transplant, long-term corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy increase the risk of this disease and the predisposing factor for most of the cases prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.