Why in news:
Mucormycosis, a serious fungal infection but otherwise rare, has been observed in a number of Covid-19 patients recently. While there is no major outbreak, the national Covid task force has issued an advisory.
What is mucormycosis?
- Mucormycosis, commonly called black fungus, is a rare but serious fungal infection caused by a kind of fungus called mucormycete, which is abundant in the environment.
- It mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
- The disease often manifests in the skin and also affects the lungs and the brain.
Reason for spread?
- Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after they inhale fungal spores from the air.
- Doctors in some states have noted a rise in cases of mucormycosis among people hospitalized or recovering from Covid 19, with some requiring urgent surgery.
- Usually, mucormycetes does not pose a major threat to those with a healthy immune system.
Warning signs include pain and redness around the eyes or nose, with fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits, and altered mental status.
What’s the treatment?
- While it is treated with antifungals, mucormycosismay eventually require surgery. Doctors have said that it is of utmost importance to control diabetes, reduce steroid use, and discontinue immuno-modulating drugs.
- To maintain adequate systemic hydration, the treatment includes infusion of normal saline (IV) before infusion of amphotericin B and antifungal therapy, for at least 4-6 weeks.
How can one prevent it?
- Experts advise that you use masks if you are visiting dusty construction sites.
- Wear shoes, long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and gloves while handling soil (gardening), moss or manure.
- Maintain personal hygiene including a thorough scrub bath.