Doctors in world-regions are reporting cases of mucormycosis or “black fungus,” a serious but rare fungal infection, in some of the country’s infectious-disease patients. The infection is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which live throughout the environment and typically do not agitate otherwise healthy people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, in those who have health problems, or take medications that lower the body’s ability to fight off germs and sickness, it could infect the sinuses or lungs when inhaled through the air or on injured skin. Diabetes, cancer, organ transplants, stem cell transplants, low white blood cells, long-term corticosteroid use, injection drug use, too much iron, skin injury and premature or low birth weight are all considered to be risk factors.
May 6, 2021: In this file photo, a health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a person to test for COVID-19 as others wait for their turn outside a field hospital in Mumbai, India.
(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)
Symptoms may present as one-sided facial swelling, headache, nasal or sinus congestion, black lesions on the nasal bridge or fever.
In those who contract the illness in the lungs, fever, cough, chest pain or shortness of breath may be indicators of infection. Others may experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or even gastrointestinal bleeding.
The fungus cannot be spread between people, or between animals, according to the agency. There is no vaccine to prevent the infection, but those considered to be at high risk can take an antifungal medication to prevent it. In India, health officials warned doctors to limit steroid use in coronavirus patients, particularly in those with diabetes.
“There have been cases reported in several other countries – including the U.K., U.S., France, Austria, Brazil and Mexico, but the volume is much bigger in India,” David Denning, a professor at Britain’s Manchester University and an expert at the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections, previously told Reuters. “And one of the reasons is lots and lots of diabetes and lots or poorly controlled diabetes.”