BLACK FUNGUS- NEW PANDEMIC IS COMING

Block Fungus The New Pandemic

BLACK FUNGUS- NEW PANDEMIC

It is a typically rare fungal

infection called mucormycosis

has surged in India recently,

primarily affecting people

recovering from COVID-19.


Experts say this type of fungal

infection is extremely rare and

that it may be affecting people

whose immune systems have

been damaged by the

coronavirus.


Experts say the use of steroid

drugs in these patients may

partially explain some of the

surge, while the

immune-compromised state of

COVID-19 patients could

explain others.


Even as India struggles to

contain a deadly surge of

COVID-19, doctors are now

reporting cases of a rare

infection called the “black

fungus,” occurring among

people recovering from the

disease.

The fungal infection is

increasingly being seen in

vulnerable patients in India, as

the country’s health system

struggles to save lives during

the pandemic.



According to the Centers for

Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC)Trusted

Source, this black fungus

infection is called

mucormycosis and is caused

by a group of molds called

mucormycetes Trusted Source

that typically live in soil and

decaying organic matter.



The infection can be life

threatening and has a

mortality rate between 46–96

percent depending on severity.




“Mucormycosis is a rare,

invasive, fungal opportunistic

infection that causes serious,

sometimes fatal disease,” Dr.

K.C. Rondello, epidemiologist

and special adviser to the

Office of University Health and

Wellness at Adelphi University,

told us.



He explained that those most at

risk for mucormycosis have

compromised immune systems

that make them susceptible to

fungal and other opportunistic

infections.

“This includes individuals who

are currently fighting or have

recently recovered from

COVID-19 disease,” said

Rondello.

Over the last 10 years, doctors

have only seen a handful of

mucormycosis cases in India.



This past month, however, tens

of thousands of cases have

been reported, Dr. Bhakti

Hansoti, associate professor in

the department of emergency

medicine and international

health at Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg School of Public

Health, told USA today.

“We’ve seen this skyrocket in

recent weeks,” she said.

“It consumes a lot of resources

especially during this

pandemic right now in India

where healthcare resources

are stretched at the limit.”

Symptoms of mucormycosis


Mucormycosis can affect

different parts of the body,

showing different sets of

symptoms, according to the

CDCTrusted Source.

If the infection grows in the

sinuses and brain

(rhinocerebral mucormycosis

Trusted Source), symptoms

include fever, one-sided facial

swelling, headache, and nasal

or sinus congestion.

If your lungs are affected by the

fungus, you can experience

cough, chest pain, and

shortness of breath.



When mucormycosis attacks

the digestive system, you may

experience abdominal pain,

nausea and vomiting, and

gastrointestinal bleeding.



“It’s an environmental mold,

which once it infects you, is

very morbid and has a high

mortality,” said Dr. Eric

Cioe-Peña, director of Global

Health at Northwell Health in

New York. “Because the

infection is so rare, the exact

mortality rate isn’t clear. But

researchers estimate that

overall, 54 percent of people

with mucormycosis die.”

He added that people with

COVID-19 theoretically could

be at higher risk due to an

immune reaction, or

inflammation locally in the

sinus tract. Cioe-Peña

confirmed the fungus isn’t

normally contagious.

According to Bhayani, you can

contract the fungus by inhaling

the mold spores or when you

come into contact with them in

things like soil, rotting produce

or bread, or compost piles.

“Mucormycosis is normally not

spread person to person, but is

found in the environment,” he

said. “However, due to the

level of spread, it’s too early to

say how this is spreading.”

Who’s at risk and how is

mucormycosis treated?


According to researchers

trusted Source, while

mucormycosis is comparatively rare, increased

use of chemotherapy and

steroid drugs — like those used

to treat some COVID-19

patients — may be increasing

its frequency.

In a recent small study trusted

Source, scientists concluded

that COVID-19 patients with

diabetes that were treated with

steroid drugs had a

significantly increased risk of

experiencing fungal infections

like mucormycosis.

According to Dr. Nikhil

Bhayani, infectious disease

expert at Texas Health

Resources, mucormycosis can

be treated with antifungal

agents like amphotericin B,

isavuconazole, and

posaconazole.

“In severe cases, your doctor

may recommend surgery to

remove infected or dead tissue

to keep the fungus from

spreading,” he said. “This

might include removing parts

of your nose or eyes. This

could be disfiguring, but it’s

crucial to treat this life

threatening infection.”

People with COVID-19 at

increased risk of many

‘opportunistic infections’


Dr. Rondello explained that

individuals fighting a

“significant infection” like

COVID-19 are more susceptible

to developing opportunistic

infections as their immune

systems are busy fighting the

SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Opportunistic infections can

be caused by fungi, bacteria,

viruses, even parasites,” he

said.



He said other common fungal

infections can include:



Candidiasis, a fungal infection

caused by a yeast (a type of

fungus) called Candida.


Histoplasmosis, a disease

caused by a fungus (or mold)

called histoplasma. This fungus

is common in the eastern and

central United States.


Aspergillosis, caused by

aspergillus, a common mold

found in buildings and

outdoors.


“There is limited evidence that

patients with COVID-19 are

vulnerable to developing

pulmonary (lung)

aspergillosis,” said Dr.

Rondello.

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Aspergillosis infection of

particular concern


Rondello pointed out that there

is “mounting recognition” of a

condition called coronavirus

disease–associated pulmonary

aspergillosis (CAPA).

“In one study published in

JAMA, the authors estimate

that CAPA affects about 20 to

30 percent of severely ill,

mechanically ventilated

patients with COVID-19,” he

said.

Rondello emphasized that

much is still unknown about

COVID-19 and its

consequences.

“There is still so much that we

do not fully understand about

COVID-19,” he said. “As we

have more experience with

this disease and its

consequences, I suspect we will

learn more about COVID-19’s relationship with other

infections, including

opportunistic ones.”

The bottom line


A typically rare fungal infection

called mucormycosis has

surged in India recently,

primarily affecting people

recovering from COVID-19.

The use of steroid drugs for

treating COVID-19 may

partially explain the surge in

these fungal infections, along

with weakened immune

systems from COVID-19.

Mucormycosis is just one of

many opportunistic infections

that can occur with COVID-19.

Much is still unknown about

the consequences of COVID-19

and its relationship with other

diseases.



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htpps://indiatoday.app.link/zKoSVVDrnp/

 

Published by Sima Sarkar

I am Anjan.I am a freelancer.I am trying to write day to day human issues.I want to highlight issues related to 'Mother Earth' as well.

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