Future of Us
Black Fungus striking India
By- Riya Patel
What is Black Fungus?
India is currently experiencing their second wave of the COVID-19. This is the deadliest wave they’ve experienced. With over 300,000 deaths and more than 20 million cases, this virus has created a rare infection called mucormycosis, also known as black fungus when the infection is Covid-19 related. It is known to be caused by a group of molds, specifically, the fungal spores that are naturally found in India’s environment, soil, and ground. The past couple of months, India has seen thousands of cases affecting patients who are currently recovering and those who are recovered from Covid-19. It is known to have a mortality rate of 50% if it spreads to the brain. The majority of people who are exposed to the fungus will be fine unless they have an impaired immune system or are using a ventilator. This disease is known for attacking blood vessels and live tissues, and progresses rapidly. A sign of infection is black, decaying areas, which is where the disease gets its name from. This is a rare but threatening fungal infection.
How does it spread and what helps?
One thing about Black Fungus is that it does not spread from one person to another. Once it is in your body, it has the capability to affect the nose, eyes and in some cases, even your brain. It is mainly caused by exposure to mucor mould which is frequently found in soil, plants, manure and decomposing fruits and veggies. The fungus tends to affect the sinuses, the brain and the lungs, which can potentially be life-threatening if you're diabetic. It is also severely dangerous for cancer patients and people with HIV/AIDS. Most doctors believe that mucormycosis may be triggered by the usage of steroids, a life-preserving treatment for grave and dire ill Covid-19 patients. Steroids lessen inflammation in the lungs and seem to help stop some of the internal destruction in patients with Covid-19. Nevertheless, it also diminishes immunity and causes blood sugar levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients to surge.
What are some symptoms of the Black Fungus?
Symptoms such as sinusitis, which is nasal stoppage or congestion, nasal discharge, black-like discoloration over the aqueduct of your nose, loosening of teeth or jaw attachment, blurred or double vision with pain, chest pain, pleural effusion or local pain on the cheekbone, one-sided facial ache, and numbness or swelling are the most common.
How are these cases treated?
Treatment depends on how severe the infection of Black Fungus is. Doctors use drugs such as Liposomal Amphotericin B or Posaconazole for this fungal infection. In India, each vial costs between Rs 5,000 or Rs 6,000. These medications have to be prescribed and used under medical supervision. Doctors still say that the drugs used for treating this disease come with strong side-effects such as kidney issues, neurological dysfunctions and strokes. If this disease ends up infecting tissues, then they’ll have to be surgically removed. You would need a special team consisting of internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, microbiologist, ENT, specialists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, dentists, etc. This all varies on how much damage the Black Fungus has caused to your body.
How can you prevent yourself from getting the Black Fungus?
Health officials say that the most practical and effective way to prevent the Black Fungus is to wear a mask while going out, especially when you're in soiled areas or gardens, where there is garbage or decaying food. It’s also good to have reduced exposure to your skin and to wear lengthy clothes. For diabetic and other immune-compromised people, controlling sugar levels and blood glucose is necessary. Most importantly, visit your doctor if you feel as if you're sick do not self medicate yourself. The sooner you receive medical attention, the better.