'We don't know the exact reason why fungal infections are reaching epidemic proportions but we believe that there could be multiple reasons', said Dr Chandra
At present India is witnessing a surge in Mucormycosis or 'Black Fungus' cases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, 8,848 Black Fungus' cases have been reported across the country. AIIMS senior neurosurgeon Dr P Sarat Chandra said that the patients within six weeks of COVID-19 treatment are at the highest risk of black fungus.
"Fungal infections are not new. But it has never happened in epidemic proportions. We do not know the exact reason why it is reaching epidemic proportions but we have reason to believe that there could be multiple reasons,'' said Dr Chandra.
Fungal infections are not new. But It has never happened in epidemic proportions. We don’t know the exact reason why it is reaching to epidemic proportions. But we've reason to believe that there could be multiple reasons: Professor of Neurosurgery at AIIMS Dr P Sarat Chandra pic.twitter.com/tLHSKbgvBH— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2021
'Patients within 6 weeks of COVID treatment at highest risk': Dr Chandra
"One of the most important reasons is uncontrolled diabetics, systemic use of steroids along with tocilizumab, patients on ventilation and taking supplemental oxygen. Within six weeks of COVID treatment if people have any of these factors they are at the highest risk of black fungus," Dr Chandra told ANI.
Dr Chandra's warning on Cold Oxygen
He also warned that giving cold oxygen directly from cylinders could be very dangerous for patients.
"Giving cold oxygen directly from the cylinder is very dangerous. Using a mask for 2-3 weeks could be a setting for the development of black fungus. Anti-fungal drug Posaconazole can be given to high-risk individuals to reduce incidents of black fungus," added Dr Chandra.
Mucormycosis of small intestine
Amid the rising concern of black fungus cases in addition to the COVID pandemic, the rare cases of Mucormycosis of the small intestine have been reported in Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Rare cases of Mucormycosis (Black Fungs) of small intestine seen at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi in a 56-year-old man & a 68-year-old man. Biopsy confirmed Black Fungus of small intestine in them. Both these patients had COVID &diabetes but only one of them had received steroids pic.twitter.com/vu9c9JOt7l— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2021
States declare black fungus under Epidemic Act
After numerous cases of 'black fungus' infection being reported in several parts of the country-- states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already declared it a 'notifiable' disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, thereby making it mandatory to report every Mucormycosis case to the state government.
What is Black Fungus?
According to the Union Health Ministry, mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens. Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after fungal spores are inhaled from air and it may turn fatal if not cared for. While it is very rare, it can lead to loss of the upper jaw and sometimes even the eye. Warning signs include pain and redness around the eyes and/or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomit and altered mental status.
(With ANI Inputs)
(Image Credits: SHUTTERSTOCK/ANI)