Post COVID infections wrongly addressed as Black Fungus: Experts

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  With cases of post-corona complications such as Covid Associated Mucormycosis (CAM) gradually increasing, experts from the AIIMS Delhi have noted that it is wrongly addressed as Black Fungus.

“Black fungus is actually Dermatiaceous and not Mucormycosis. There is no scientific publication addressing disease caused by Mucormycosis as Black Fungus infection. Mucormycosis causes 50 per cent mortality if untreated,” said Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor at Neurosurgery department, AIIMS, Delhi.

“Other name of CAM is ROCM (RhinoOrbitalCerebral Mucormycosis) and not Black Fungus. Dematiaceous hyphomycetes causes Phaeohyphomycosis. These fungi are darkly pigmented because of the presence of melanin in their cell wall. Infections with these fungi may remain localized at the site of traumatic inoculation or within the sinuses or may become disseminated,” he added.

Dr Gupta explained that mucor fungus responsible for Mucormycosis in Covid are molds occurring in the soil, vcompost, animal dung, rotting wood and plant material, fruits, vegetables. It is ubiquitous and found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people. 

As a number of states have reported cases of Mucormycosis, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan last week shared details regarding this fungal infection. The government has already assured of taking steps to increase the availability of Amphotericin B to treat Mucormycosis.

Elderly diabetics, history of high dose and long duration steroid therapy, recent recovery from Covid infection (2-4 weeks prior), malignancy are at the higher risk of getting infected with covid associated mucormycosis.

Those patients given immunosuppressants, remained under long term ventilator/oxygen therapy, administered tocilizumab/Immunomodulator usage, hemochromatosis also are at risk of getting CAM.

“CAM is not unique to Covid-19 Pandemic. Mucormycosis infections have been reported in medical literature even before Covid pandemic. Higher CAM infections noted in the second wave of Covid -19 is associated with indiscriminate /non judicious usage of steroids and oxygen therapy in high-risk Covid patients. Covid first wave didn’t have so many cases of Mucormycosis. Data being studied. However, the disease is also noted in those who were not on oxygen therapies,” Dr Gupta stated.



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