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The Black Fungus or Mucormycosis Pandemic

Posted on Healthcare By DoctorUna - Published on 2021-05-24

Mucormycosis or black fungus is a relatively rare fungal infection. It can infect human beings who are exposed to the mucor mold that is found in plants, soils, animal manure, decaying food items, rotting fruits, and vegetables. This mucor mold is present almost everywhere and can even be found in the mucus and noses of healthy individuals. 

Mucormycosis is a rare fungal disease that primarily affects people who have underlying health issues or have taken medicines that lowers the body's natural immune system. It enters the patients' bodies through their eyes, noses, or mouth organs.

The present Covid19 pandemic has seen the rise in black fungus cases in post-covid patients who have compromised immune systems. The black fungus typically affects the sinus path, lungs, and brain of the patients. Mucormycosis can be fatal or life-threatening in individuals suffering from diabetes or other immuno-suppressed health conditions such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. 

Mucormycosis Risk Factors 

Mucormycosis can infect individuals having the following health conditions:

  • Diabetic people 
  • Cancer patients 
  • HIV/AIDS patients 
  • People who have undergone organ and stem cell transplant 
  • People with low white blood cell count 
  • People using corticosteroid for a long duration 
  • Persons with iron overload in the body 
  • People using Injection drugs
  • People with skin injury caused by surgery, burns, or wounds 

Symptoms related to rhinocerebral mucormycosis (sinus and brain):

  • Swelling of the face on one side
  • Severe headache 
  • Sinus congestion 
  • Development of black lesions on the upper part of the mouth or the nasal bridge 
  • Fever 

Symptoms of pulmonary mucormycosis (lungs)

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Breathlessness 
  • Persistent Cough 

Symptoms of skin or cutaneous mucormycosis 

  • Blisters on the skin 
  • Blackening of the infected area 
  • Swelling and redness around a wound 
  • Pain in the affected area 

Symptoms of gastrointestinal mucormycosis

  • Pain in the abdomen 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal area 

Rise in Mucormycosis Infection Around the Globe 

Black fungus cases are on the rise worldwide. In many parts of India, the black fungus has been declared an epidemic. According to March month BBC reports, there have been more than 40 black fungus cases directly related to COVID19 cases, which have been documented globally. Fungal infections in UAE have witnessed a surge since the second wave of COVID19 hit the country. Almost 70% of black fungus cases reported worldwide are from the Indian Subcontinent.  In UAE, bloodstream candida fungal infections in COVID19 patients, who have been hospitalized are at major risk. 

FAQs

How does a person get infected with mucormycosis?

People can get infected when they come in contact with fungal spores present in the environment. If a person inhales the aerial spores, the infection can form in the lungs or sinus. Similarly, skin infection may develop when the fungus enters via the skin due to any skin injury. 

Is black fungus infection contagious?

No, mucormycosis is not contagious. It cannot spread from human to human contact, or between human beings and animals. 

What precautions can I take to lower the risk of the infection?

Fungal spores are commonly found in the environment and they cannot be avoided. There is no vaccination to protect people from the disease. People with low and weakened immune systems should be aware of the contributing risk factors causing mucormycosis. 

Environmental hazards: 

  • Avoid areas such as construction or excavation sites, as these areas are dust-prone. Wear an N95 respirator face mask. 
  • Avoid places with high water damage, especially after a spat of natural disasters like floods, cyclones, and hurricanes 
  • Avoid all activities related to soil, moss, manure, and dust. Clean your garden and houses wearing masks and gloves
  • Avoid wooded areas or wear long clothing and gumboots while doing yard work or gardening. 
  • Clean skin injuries using antibacterial soap and water. 

People in the high-risk category can request their Infectious Disease Specialist Doctors in Dubai  to prescribe antifungal medications as prevention against developing mold infections. Healthcare infection control doctors in the dubai can give you guidelines to know more about mold infections affecting post-covid patients. 

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DoctorUna

DoctorUna.com launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2012, Egypt and Jordan in 2013 and recently in Kuwait in 2014. The purpose of DoctorUna is to allow patients to quickly search for doctors from across a broad range of specialties, compare them and easily book a convenient appointment. DoctorUna gives doctors access to a larger pool of patients, streamlines and better manages their appointment booking process so they can spend more time caring for patients.

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