The death of a woman at a private hospital in the city reportedly with symptoms of mucormycosis, commonly known as ‘black fungus’, has created a scare among the people. District Collector V. Vinay Chand on Wednesday announced the creation of a 20-bed facility at the Dermatology Department of the KGH for treatment of mucormycosis.On the directions of the government, a Clinical Management Protocol Committee has been formed with experts from different specialities.
Though this disease has been in existence for long, it assumed significance only after it started affecting COVID-19 patients. A good thing is that mucormycosis does not spread from one person to another.Medical experts attribute the rise in black fungus cases to the indiscriminate use of steroids and antibiotics, apart from contamination through the pipes and prongs used for the mechanical supply of oxygen to patients.
Black Fungus Spreadable Person To Person
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is a rare form of infection. It is more common among people who have health issues and are on medicines that can lower the strength of the immune system. There are certain groups of people who are more likely to get the infection, such as people suffering from diabetes, cancer, organ transplant, stem cell transplant, Neutropenia (lower number of white blood cells), corticosteroid users, drug addicts, and others
How does infection enter the body?
The fungus can enter the patient’s body through contact with the fungal spores. It can enter in lungs or sinus if someone inhales the spores from the air. It can enter the skin through a burn, scrape, or other skin injuries.
Mucormycosis is not contagious
It has to be noted that mucormycosis is not contagious. It cannot spread between persons or persons and animals. CDC says, “Mucormycosis can’t spread between people or between people and animals”.
In a recent interview with Times Now, Dr. Akshay Nair, Oculoplastic Surgeon, Ocular Oncologist said that mucormycosis is not contagious. He said, “It is possible that a healthy person like you and me can have mucormycosis spores in our system, but unless an environment is created that allows mucormycosis to grow, which happens in diabetes, which happens in immuno-compromised people unless that happens, the disease will not be able to invade our system. It is only possible in those who are vulnerable.”
What are the early signs of Black Fungus infection?
According to the guidelines for patients issued by AIIMS, here is a list of early signs of mucormycosis infection:
- Headache and nasal obstruction even after taking pain medications
- Nasal crusting and nasal discharge that could be brownish or tinged with blood
- Loss of sensation or pain on the face
- Discoloration of skin
- Localized facial puffiness
In moderately advanced disease, eye/orbital mucor infection may occur. Some initial signs include:
- Eye swelling or redness
- Double vision
- Loss of vision
- Pain in the eyes
- Drooping eyelids
What to do if you see signs of infection?
The first and foremost thing to do is to consult your doctor immediately. The doctor will examine you clinically and may take swabs from the nose and test for fungal infection. If the infection is strong, you may need treatment with antifungal medications and surgery.
- Make sure to provide a complete history of diabetes to the doctor
- Periodically get Sugar levels checked
- Make sure to keep an eye on the early signs of Mucor
- Maintain basic hygiene and cleanliness
- Follow the advice of the doctor
- Complete the course of treatment as suggested by the doctor
- Do not Self medicate, especially steroids. Do not listen to any so-called experts who are sharing information on social media platforms. Take medicines only after consulting with a doctor
- Do not delay reporting symptoms of Mucor
- In any case, do not ignore medical advice. Do not skip medicine and do not indulge in anything that may compromise your immune system further