What is black fungus?
Mucormycosis also known as Black Fungus is a rare but serious fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes present in the environment.
It often infects the sinuses and spreads to the brain and lungs. It can also affect the face, infecting the nose, the orbit of the eye which can even cause vision loss.
How does it transmit?
The infection occurs through inhalation, inoculation, or ingestion of spores from the environment.
The fungi can also enter the body through the skin or spread through the bloodstream and affect the heart and spleen (Disseminated Mucormycosis).
Who is most vulnerable to black fungus?
Mucormycosis can happen to anyone at any age but it is potentially fatal for diabetics, people with weakened immunity, HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, and those who are taking any medications (steroids, antibiotics).
Cases of mucormycosis are also rapidly rising among Covid-19 survivors, leading to blindness, serious illness, and even death.
Mucormycosis is not contagious and does not spread between people or between people and animals.
Is fungus making your pets unwell too?
Fungus is just as bad for your pet as it is for you. It has been known to cause many problems in animals ranging from ringworms in dogs to sudden death in horses and diarrhea in cattle.
It is potentially very dangerous. If you have fungus growing anywhere in your home, get rid of it and be alert to the risks it poses.
Symptoms of mucormycosis –
Symptoms of mucormycosis include pain and redness around the eyes and nose, fever, headache, chest pain, breathing difficulties, coughing, bloody vomits, and altered mental status.
Covid-19 patients, diabetic or immunosuppressed individuals may experience symptoms such as sinusitis, one-sided facial swelling and pain, numbness, blackish discoloration over the bridge of nose/palate, blurred or double vision with pain, skin lesions, and chest pain.
Diagnosis and treatment of mucormycosis –
Diagnosis of the infection includes a physical examination, medical history, tissue biopsy, etc.
Treatment should be started as soon as the infection is confirmed. Treatment involves monitoring and controlling blood sugar, the intravenous antifungal medication that includes Amphotericin B and Posaconazole, and surgery required to control the spread of infection at an advanced stage.
Mucormycosis can be deadly without treatment with a mortality rate of almost 50%.
How can you prevent black fungal infection?
- Avoid areas with a lot of dust and soil.
- Wear shoes, trousers, long-sleeved clothes, gloves, and a mask while gardening or yard work.
- Wash cuts or scratches with soap and water immediately.
- Avoid direct contact with contaminated or infected water.
- Maintain personal hygiene.
- Use clean and sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy for Covid-19 patients.
Key points –
- Mucormycosis is a rare but dangerous infection caused by a fungus that is abundant in the environment.
- It mainly affects people who have health problems.
- Irrational use of steroids and antibiotics is a major cause of the infection.
- Warning signs include toothache, blurred vision with pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- Mucormycosis, if uncared for, may turn fatal.