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Mucormycosis, more popularly known as the black fungus in India is a deadly fungal infection that spreads rapidly among immunocompromised patients in the wake of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mucormycosis – or Zygomycosis as it was previously known, was very rare in occurrence before COVID-19. This fungal infection owes its presence to a group of fungi known as micromycetes. While these fungi are omnipresent in the environment, they primarily attack individuals who have existing health issues or consume medication that lowers their body’s ability to fend off germs and sickness.
Mucormycosis is primarily known to adversely affect the sinuses or the lungs as the fungal spores are breathed in from the air surrounding the infected individual. That being said, it can appear on an individual’s skin when it is tender owing to a cut, burn, or general injury. Patients suffering from severe COVID-19 conditions were especially vulnerable to this infection due to their already weakened immune systems.
Mucormycosis symptoms may vary in accordance with the area that has been affected by the mucor fungus.
In the event that the fungus has affected the sinus and/or brain, the following mucormycosis symptoms could be seen:
Facial swelling occupying one side
Congestion (nasal or sinus)
Blackened skin tissue on the nose or on the top inner region of the mouth (it is a black fungus)
In the event that the Mucormycosis fungus has affected the lungs, the following symptoms of black fungus are likely to be seen:
Shortness of breath
In the event that the Mucormycosis fungus has affected the skin, you may experience the following symptoms:
The affected skin is black
Pain and swelling from the wound
Warmth emanates from the wound which is overly red
Mucormycete fungi are responsible for causing Mucormycosis. They are known to be present in the following places:
Organic matter which is decaying, i.e. scattered compost, piles of leaves
Their presence is more apparent in the summer and fall as opposed to other seasons.
Mucormycosis can be transmitted in a number of ways, some of which have been listed below.
1. If an individual inhales the fungus, it may adversely impact them which can lead to infections. These black fungal infections can also occur if the fungus comes into contact with the following body parts:
2. Cuts or burns can also draw in the fungus which then infects said area.
Having said that, not all those who are exposed to this fungus get infected by it. Those with poor immune systems are more susceptible to being infected. Individuals who have cancer, diabetes, are recent organ transplants, or have had surgery recently, have a greater risk of catching the infection.
3. Coming into contact with an infected individual.
If you end up coming into close contact with an individual who has been infected with the black fungus, there is a high chance it may get transmitted to you as well.
Medical practitioners and doctors who specialize in lung, sinus, or skin infections have an easier time diagnosing this infection. These doctors use a tissue sample of the infection region to diagnose the condition. This sample might be a discharge from your nose or spittle or a swab from the wound if it’s on the skin.
Mucormycosis is life-threatening in part due to the celerity with which it spreads across the body. In the event that it isn’t treated with immediacy, it can cause the following complications.
It is important to note that if you are suffering even the slightest symptoms of Mucormycosis, you should immediately consult a doctor as getting proper treatment on time can save you from most of the negative complications. If you fail to visit a medical professional in time, the infection may end up causing you serious harm.
Here are the various ways through which doctors treat Mucormycosis:
As Mucormycosis is a serious fungal infection, doctors usually treat it with antifungal medications such as amphotericin B, posaconazole, or isavuconazole.
In advanced cases of Mucormycosis, surgical treatment may be required. The surgery involves cutting out the infected skin tissue in its entirety thereby preventing the infection from spreading.
Oral and intravenous antifungal medications are also administered to treat this infection.
Despite knowing the treatment and measures, it is best to take medical advice before undergoing any sort of procedures.
There are no home remedies for Mucormycosis. Those diagnosed with Mucormycosis are encouraged to seek out professional medical help as qualified doctors can prevent this infection from turning fatal. More importantly, you should aim to actively protect yourself against this infection by wearing masks when outside, regularly sanitising and avoiding areas where patients infected with Mucormycosis are nearby.
In order to prevent getting infected by Mucormycosis, you are encouraged to follow the suggestions listed below.
Although this infection is rare in its occurrence and isn’t contagious, those with weakened immunity are recommended to build it up.
Those visiting dusty environments must wear masks, cover their skin with appropriate clothing and have a bath following their close exposure to soil or dust.
Antifungal medication may be prescribed in the event that individuals are more susceptible to getting infected by Mucormycosis.
The second wave of the pandemic has been particularly brutal as it has wreaked havoc on countless lives in addition to the society and economy in general. It is important to protect yourself during this time and avoid contact with those outside your home as far as possible. Although Mucormycosis is very rare, the increase in its occurrence amidst the pandemic makes it important to understand it and protect yourself against it.
Such medical emergencies further draw our attention to the importance of securing our health. And, protecting your health begins with getting a health insurance plan. With the excellent health insurance plans available on Finserv MARKETS, you can enjoy benefits like cashless claims, a wide network of hospitals and more.
Here are some of the main symptoms of the black fungal disease:
Cough or congestion
Blisters or ulcers (on the skin)
The black fungus treatment usually consists of injected or oral antifungal medications prescribed by the doctors. In serious cases, an operation may be required to completely remove the fungal infected tissue from the body.
You can avoid getting mucormycosis by wearing a mask wherever you go outside, sanitising your hands regularly and avoiding areas where the infection is spreading.
No, do not try any home treatments for Mucormycosis. If you feel any symptoms of the infection, immediately contact a doctor.
No, COVID-19 does not directly cause Mucormycosis. However, people whose immune systems are weakened due to severe COVID-19 are much more vulnerable to black fungus than other individuals.