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As “Black Fungus” cases rise,Health Minister Dr Vardhan on symptoms, Do’s And Don’ts

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday advised people on the early detection and management of Mucormycosis – commonly known as Black Fungus, a rare but serious condition that has been reported in a number of coronavirus patients, especially in Maharashtra.

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#Mucormycosis, commonly known as ‘#BlackFungus’ has been observed in a number of #COVID19 patients recently.

“Awareness & early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection”. Here’s how to detect & manage it Here’s how to detect & manage it,” he tweeted along with four slides.

What is Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection mainly affecting people with medical health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens.

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What are possible symptoms and sign of Mucormycosis?

– Pain and redness around eyes and/or nose

– Fever

– Headache

– Coughing

– Shortness of breath

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– Bloody vomits

– Altered mental status

How can a patient contract the infection?

People having co-morbities, variconazole therapy, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids or prolonged ICU stay can get predisposed to the fungal infection.

“Don’t consider all cases of blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, especially in the cases of immunosuppression and/ or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators,” the minister advised in his tweet.

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DOS

– Control hyperglycemia

– Monitor blood glucose level post COVID-19 discharge and also in diabetics

– Use steroid judiciously – correct timing, correct dose and duration

– Use clean, sterile water for humidifiers during oxygen therapy

– Use antibiotics/antifungals judiciously

DON’TS

– Do not miss warning signs and symptoms

– Do not consider all the cases with blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly in the context of immunosuppression and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators

– Do not hesitate to seek aggressive investigations, as appropriate (KOH staining & microscopy, culture, MALDITOF), for detecting fungal etiology

– Do not lose crucial time to initiate treatment for mucormycosis

Mucormycosis has become a talked about subject after a few recovering and recovered COVID-19 patients were found infected with the fungus.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said there could be over 2,000 such cases in the state as of now, and with more and more COVID-19 cases coming up “their number would increase for sure”.

As many as 111 patients, all COVID-19 survivors, are undergoing treatment for mucormycosis in hospitals in state capital Mumbai, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). A 44-year-old man in Mumbai lost his eyesight due to the fungal infection.

Karnataka also reported cases of balck fungus, with the state demanding a supply of 25,000 doses of Amphotericin B from the Centre. The medicine can reportedly cure the infection. Odisha, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have also detected such cases.

Madhya Pradesh, which is also seeing a spurt in the number of black fungus cases, on Wednesday announced to set up black fungus treatment units at the government medical colleges in Bhopal and Jabalpur with ten beds facility each.

The state has now decided to create a separate database of cases of mucormycosis to assess its actual spread and how to tackle it, news agency Press Trust of India reported quoting officials.

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