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Black Fungus Symptoms & Treatment. Can It Affect Non-Covid People As Well?

Pathkind Team 1679 Views
Updated: 13 Oct 2023
Published: 21 Jun 2022

What is black fungus? 

Black fungus AKA mucormycosis is an extremely rare fungal infection caused by a group of fungi known as ‘mucormycetes’. This fatal group of fungi is commonly found in the environment, especially in animal dung, soil, decaying organic substrates, rotting wood and in compost tiles. This can also be observed as black colored growth on rotting fruits and old bread. This group of fungi can enter the body through inhaling, breathing, or can also get in the skin through exposed wounds. 

What happens in black fungus infection?

This group of fungi is fatal and angioinvasive, meaning they attack the surrounding blood vessels and damage them, causing tissue necrosis and even death. However, mucormycosis is a non-contagious disease, meaning it cannot transfer by direct or indirect contact between humans or animals. This fungus is naturally harmless but usually takes advantage of people with a weakened immune system, makes them a host and invades their bodies. 

Black fungus can be diagnosed by taking a sample of the fluid from your nose, and in severe cases a doctor may advise you to get an MRI scan. These tests can either be booked through an online lab test, or one may also visit the nearest hospital.

Who can it affect?

Black fungus generally affects people with bad immune systems, people who have had encounters with fatal diseases before. Primarily, in India, around 70% of the cases of black fungus worldwide are associated with patients of COVID-19.

This fungal infection also affects people with :

- AIDS or HIV

- Diabetes

- Stem cell transplant

- Organ transplant 

- Cancer

- Long term steroid use

- Bad immune system

- High levels of iron in the body

Black fungus symptoms 

Black fungus symptoms depend on one factor, i.e, its types. There are 5 types of Mucormycosis:

1. Cutaneous mucormycosis (skin): 

- Swollen eyes

- Redness around nose and eyes

- Facial pain, numbness and tingling sensation

- Skin ulcers

- Skin turning black 

- Swelling around infection

2. Rhinocerebral mucormycosis (Sinus and brain)

- Fever 

- Headache

- Sinus or nasal congestion

- One sided facial swelling

- Black lesions in upper inside of mouth or on nasal bridge

3. Pulmonary mucormycosis (lung)

- Difficulty in breathing and chest pain

- Fever 

- Bloody coughs 

4. Gastrointestinal mucormycosis 

- Nausea and vomiting

- Abdominal pain

- Gastrointestinal bleeding 

5. Disseminated mucormycosis 

This generally happens to those people who have extremely weak immune systems and are already suffering from illnesses and chronic diseases. This affects their brain, central nervous system, and can even cause coma. 

Black fungus symptoms are quite visible, such as swollen eyelids, paralysis of eyelid muscles, enlargement of eyelids. 

Black fungus treatment: 

This fatal disease usually requires antifungal medications which include Liposomal Amphotericin B, Posaconazole and Isavuconazole. In many other cases, surgery is also performed to remove dead or infected tissues. 

Can black fungus affect non-covid people?

Yes, this group of fungi can easily make non-covid people its host.  If you are diabetic, have cancer, have undergone surgery, or are taking steroids for treatment, you are prone to get affected by black fungus. The risk of developing the infection rises if the patient is suffering from significant other diseases along with uncontrolled diabetes.

This may sound overwhelming and scary, but you can do multiple things to prevent this infection!

Continue to wear face masks when exposed to dust and areas with soil. People with weak immune systems must make it a priority to wear masks and avoid areas that have compost soil, piles and dust. Do get a corona test at your nearest pathology lab, if you face any covid-19 related symptoms. 

If  your or your loved ones experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advised to see a doctor. 

Stay safe and healthy and visit the Covid-19 test lab in Delhi or you can also book a lab test online!

 

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