The pandemic of corona virus has brought the world into knees. Both developing and developed countries are facing the same fate. Still after one and half years of suffering, medical community has very little knowledge about the virus and it’s effects.
Waves after waves, new symptoms new complications are on rise. But more numbers of people are recovering daily from the horrible pandemic. The war is fought in many fronts. Now vaccine is made available to counter the infection. But still we are long way to win the war.
In recent days a new complication has surfaced in all form of media. Rather than thinking it new, we should remember it’s an old disease which has increased its vigour recently. But due to much media hype it has reached every people recent days. The news channels are doing broad coverage about the disease. The famous disease is none other than the BLACK FUNGUS.
WHAT IS A FUNGUS?
Fungi are a group of organisms on earth. It has several classes of species ranging from disease causing organisms to our precious mushroom recipe. They are beautiful organisms we come across everyday. But some of the groups cause very dangerous infection in humans and other animals. The black mould you see on your bread is a fungus. They are all eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds, as well as the more familiar mushroom. These organisms are classified as a kingdom. The pathogenic fungus are very dangerous and difficult to treat.
WHAT IS BLACK FUNGUS
The famous black fungus is a type of mucormycosis. Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It is ubiquitous and found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people.Mucormycosis frequently infects our sinuses, brain, or lungs. While infection of the oral cavity or brain are the most common forms of mucormycosis, the fungus can also infect other areas of the body such as the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and other organ systems. But it’s not a new disease.
WHOM IT ATTACKS?
Fungal infection is not so common in healthy people. Those who have less immunity, suffer more from the dangerous infection. Predisposing factors for mucormycosis include people living with AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, cancers, long term steroid and immunosuppressive therapy etc. Rarely it may be seen in common people.
In recent covid infection has increased the incidence of the disease. There are several factors for it. First is due to the covid infection diabetes has become out of control in many patients. Viral infection is itself immunosuppressive. Corticosteroids are commonly used in the treatment of COVID-19 and reduce damage caused by the body’s own immune system during a coronavirus infection. They are immunosuppressant and increase blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic patients. It is thought that both these effects may contribute to cases of mucormycosis. Still there are many questions unanswered.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Most common place of mucormycosis infection is brain, sinus, orbit etc. The symptoms of mucormycosis also depend on where in the body the fungus is growing.
Symptoms of rhinocerebral (sinus and brain) mucormycosis include:
- One-sided facial swelling
- Nasal or sinus congestion
- Black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of mouth that quickly become more severe
Symptoms of pulmonary (lung) mucormycosis include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
HOW TO PREVENT FUNGUS INFECTION?
First thing don’t panic. This is not a new infection. It was there and it will be there too. If you are diabetic or on any immunosuppressive medication, don’t stop Medicine without consulting your specialist. In the fear of Covid don’t neglect other diseases. If you are a covid patient get treatment according to doctors prescription. Don’t treat yourself by whatsapp messages or youtube videos by non-professionals. Maintain personal hygiene. Social distancing, mask and hand sanitization to be followed strictly.
Mucormycosis is a lethal disease. But early treatment brings good results. So never panic. It’s a treatable condition. But try to prevent it.
Please read and be aware.
Petrikkos, George; Skiada, Anna; Lortholary, Olivier; Roilides, Emmanuel; Walsh, Thomas J.; Kontoyiannis, Dimitrios P. (February 1, 2012). “Epidemiology and Clinical Manifestations of Mucormycosis”. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 54 (suppl_1): S23–S34. doi:10.1093/cid/cir866. ISSN 1537-6591.