Black Fungus and White Fungus
Many cases of black and white fungus were seen during the second wave of corona in India. Lets see the detail…
1. ROCM or Black fungus infection
- Mucormycosis (previously known as Zygomycosis) is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds known as micromycetes. Rhino-orbital-cerebral-mucormycosis (ROCM) is caused by molds of the order Mucorales.
- In this, there are a few subgroups like Rhizopus, Mucor, Rhizomucor which are most commonly involved in this infection.
- These fungi are angioinvasive i.e, they invade the surrounding blood vessels and destroy them resulting in tissue necrosis and death. These molds live throughout the environment and their spores are present in the air. They get lodged in the nasal cavity and adjoining sinuses.
- Is it contagious– The disease is not contagious and doesn’t spread from one person to another.
Why is it occurring in COVID 19 patients?
- Mucormycosis can occur any time after COVID-19 infection, either during the hospital stay or several days to a couple of weeks after discharge.
- “The COVID-19 causes favourable alteration in the internal milieu of the host for the fungus and the medical treatment given, unwittingly also abets fungal growth.
- COVID-19 damages the airway mucosa and blood vessels. It also causes an increase in the serum iron which is very important for the fungus to grow. Medications like steroids increase blood sugar. Broad-spectrum antibiotics not only wipe out the potentially pathogenic bacteria but also the protective commensals.
Clinical features of mucormycosis infection
- Nasal blockage, bleeding, discharge from the nose are initial features of mucormycosis.
- On endoscopic visualization of the nasal cavity an unmistakable black eschar (slough or dead tissue) coated masses will be present which gives away the diagnosis.
- As the disease progresses the palate may be destroyed as a large black necrotic mass may be seen on opening the mouth.
2. White Fungus
- At a time when Black Fungus continues to claim the lives of people across cities, cases of White Fungus were reported in parts of the country. A number of states such as Rajasthan, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana and Assam on Thursday declared Black Fungus as notifiable disease.
- As per latest updates from doctors, the symptoms of this rare fungal disease are similar to that of coronavirus infection. As this fungus attacks the lungs, the disease can be detected by performing HRCT test on an infected patient. However, there little evidence available as to what exactly makes this new infection more threatening.
- However, doctors say unlike the black fungus, the white fungus infection spreads more easily to the vital organs, including the lungs, kidneys, intestines, stomach, private parts and even the nails and causes widespread infection.