India has been struck by the second wave of Coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc on its people. The nation’s healthcare system has been brought to its knees by the new pressure. The mutation has been more debilitating than the first as India gasps for oxygen. People are now experiencing a new symptom that is causing them anxiety.
What is mucormycosis, and how does it affect you?
Mucormycosis, also known as Black Fungus Infection, has started to occur in hospitals across the world, and it has been linked to COVID-19. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection caused by a community of molds. Molds can be found all over the place. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mostly affects people who have health issues or are taking medications that reduce the body’s ability to combat germs and illness.
It affects the sinuses, the brain, and the lungs. It can be fatal in people with diabetes or are seriously immunocompromised, such as cancer patients or HIV/AIDS patients.
Doctors conclude that the use of steroids, life-saving therapy for serious and critically ill Covid-19 patients, could be triggering mucormycosis, which has a 50% overall mortality rate.
Steroids tend to help prevent some of the damage that can occur when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to combat the Coronavirus by reducing inflammation in the lungs. However, in both diabetic and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients they lower immunity and raise blood sugar levels.
This loss of immunity is thought to be the cause of the mucormycosis outbreaks.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of Black Fungus?
Headache, facial pain, nasal inflammation, loss of vision or pain in the eyes, swelling in the cheeks and eyes, and dark crusts in the nose are all common symptoms of the disease. Mucormycosis has a 54 percent overall all-cause mortality rate, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of a fungal infection include a stuffy and bleeding nose, eye swelling and pain, drooping eyelids, blurred vision, and eventually, vision loss. Around the nose, there may be black patches of skin.
Most of their patients arrive late, as they are already losing vision, and doctors must remove the eye surgically to prevent the infection from spreading to the brain.
Patients have lost vision in both eyes in some cases, according to doctors in India. In rare cases, doctors may need to remove the jaw bone surgically to prevent the disease from spreading.
Mucormycosis or Black Fungus: How Dangerous Is It?
Pain and redness around the eyes and nose, shortness of breath, bloody vomiting, and a change in the mental state are all warning signs of a fungal infection, according to the ICMR. Doctors recommended that the patient’s blood glucose levels be monitored and that humidifiers used for oxygen therapy be filled with clean, sterile water. Overuse of steroids, according to the ICMR, could exacerbate the infection.
The fungus is the latest complication in India’s virus battle, which is still short on hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, Covid drugs, and vaccine doses as the number of cases rises. Experts also cautioned that the sheer scale of India’s outbreak would almost certainly result in new virus mutations and side effects that haven’t been seen elsewhere.
Who is at risk?
People with health conditions or who take medications that reduce the body’s ability to combat germs and sickness are among the vulnerable. Those with diabetes, cancer, or who have undergone an organ transplant are among them.
It depends on where the infection is suspected. A sample of fluid from your respiratory tract may be taken for laboratory testing; otherwise, a tissue biopsy or a CT scan of your lungs, sinuses, and other areas of your body may be performed.
What is the impact of Mucormycosis?
As previously said, those with a weakened immune system are susceptible to Black Fungus or Mucormycosis. This is particularly true in patients recovering from COVID-19. Yes, Coronavirus is a condition that lowers your immunity, and the drugs you take during this period often lower your immune system’s power. As a result, Black Fungus can be able to penetrate one’s body. Aside from that, diabetics, organ transplant recipients, and even cancer patients are at a higher risk of contracting Black Fungus.
What is the course of action?
Mucormycosis may be treated with antifungals, but it will ultimately require surgery. Controlling diabetes, reducing steroid use, and discontinuing immunomodulation drugs are all important, according to doctors. The treatment involves an IV infusion of regular saline (IV) followed by an amphotericin B and antifungal therapy infusion for at least 4-6 weeks to maintain sufficient systemic hydration.
Experts on the task force emphasized the importance of controlling hyperglycemia and monitoring blood glucose levels during Covid-19 therapy and diabetics. Steroids should be used with caution — the right timing, dosage, and length are crucial.
Microbiologists, internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, ENT specialists, ophthalmologists, dentists, maxillofacial/plastic surgeons, and others work together to treat Covid patient’s mucormycosis.
Life after mucormycosis surgery
Mucormycosis may cause the upper jaw and even the eye to be lost. “Patients will have to accept a loss of function as a result of a missing jaw, including trouble chewing, swallowing, facial aesthetics, and self-esteem,” doctors claim. If it’s the eye or the upper lip, mechanical substitutes or prostheses may be used to replace them. Although prosthetic replacement of missing facial structures will begin once the patient has stabilized following surgery, doctors should inform him about the availability of such interventions rather than leaving him to worry about the unexpected loss, aggravating the already-existing post-Covid stress disorder,” said Dr. B Srinivasan, a maxillofacial prosthodontist. “Prosthetic repair may be done after surgery, but for better long-term results, intermediate solutions should be prepared even before jaw surgery. “Prosthetic repair will make sure that the treatment isn’t as bad as the disease,” he said.
What can be said to avoid it?
It’s important to note that this is a rare disease. Some individuals, however, are more vulnerable than others. Uncontrolled diabetes, steroid immunosuppression, extended ICU stay, and comorbidities — post-transplant/malignancy, voriconazole therapy — are all factors that put patients at risk.
If you’re going to a dusty construction site, experts recommend wearing a mask. When handling soil (gardening), moss, or compost, wear shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and gloves. Maintain good personal hygiene, which includes a good scrub wash.