Indian States sound ‘Black Fungus’ alarm after affecting COVID patients

India is grappling with a surge in potentially fatal black fungus infections among COVID-19 patients.
India is grappling with a surge in potentially fatal black fungus infections among COVID-19 patients.

INDIA: Doctors in India are fighting a fatal fungal infection affecting COVID-19 patients or those who have recovered from the disease amid a COVID-19 surge that.

The life-threatening condition, known as mucormycosis or ‘Black Fungus’, is relatively rare but doctors suspect that the sudden increase in the infection could further complicate India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Saturday, federal Minister Sadananda Gowda said nearly 9,000 cases had been reported in India so far, leading to a shortage of Amphotericin B, the drug used to treat the condition. The western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra have reported more than half of the reported cases. At least 15 more states have reported between eight and 900 cases. Following the rise in cases, India’s 29 states have been told to declare the disease an epidemic.

Mucormycosis is caused by exposure to mucor mold, which is commonly found in soil, air and even in the nose and mucus of humans. It spreads through the respiratory tract and erodes facial structures. Sometimes, doctors have to surgically remove the eye to stop the infection from reaching the brain.

Mucormycosis has a high mortality rate and was already present in India before the pandemic. It is not contagious but its frequency in the last month has left doctors shocked.

“It is a new challenge and things are looking bleak,” said Ambrish Mithal, the chairman and head of the endocrinology and diabetes department at Max Healthcare, a chain of private hospitals in India.

Mithal said the fungal infection preys on patients with weakened immune systems and underlying conditions, particularly diabetes, and irrational usage of steroids. Uncontrolled blood sugar can put immuno compromised people at a higher risk of contracting the disease.


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