There have been 20 Covid – 19 recovered people who reached Shri Ganga Ram Hospital with a complaint of certain fungal infection out of which 4 people have died and 3 people have lost their eyesight and the reason is this fungal infection.

These reports have enlightened such complications in the list of post-COVID people. They are calling it the black fungal disease. It is believed that this black fungal disease is triggered due to COVID-19 is also an airborne disease, same as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The doctors at Shri Ganga Ram hospital are running tests to identify this fungal presence that happens to enter the body via the nose.  

As per the reports of Boom, they spoke to Dr. Manish Munjal who is an ENT specialist at Shri Ganga Ram hospital, to understand the severity of this disease. As per the doctor, this fungal infection also known as Mucormycosis is an opportunistic infection. This airborne fungus impacts patients with low immunity. This infection has been reported in patients who are suffering from diabetes or have undergone transplants, or those who have undergone chemotherapy. Though this time it has emerged as a new post-COVID complication.

The last 15 days for the hospital have brought a change in the manner the post- covid patients were seen. In these past days, the hospital has seen 20 patients with this black fungus infection of which four people have reportedly died while three people have lost their eyesight. The silver lining is that the remaining thirteen people have recovered.

This new complication in the recovering patients of COVID-19 has raised further questions about this novel disease. Not only Delhi but hospitals in Ahmedabad and Bangalore have also reported fatalities due to the disease. 

The question that arises is What is this Black Fungal Infection?

As mentioned earlier, this black fungal infection is also known as Mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection that is caused by a group of fungi called mucormycetes. These are present in the air and also in the contaminated surfaces and enter the body through the nasal cavities aka nose. As and when they enter the body, these fungi start to move through the nose and cause necrosis-instant cell death, if left unchecked. From the nose, it moves towards the eyes and is most fatal if it reaches the brain. All those who have lower immunity are at a higher risk of getting this fungus and get infected. And out of all the diabetics are at a much higher risk of being infected by the fungus.

As per a study in 2005, the death rate of this fungus is around 54%.

The doctor is of the opinion that the essential medicines that are used to treat COVID-19 patients like steroids and tocilizumab damps the immunity of a person and makes them fall under people with low immunity. This in turn makes them susceptible to contracting this airborne infection. 

What are the Symptoms?

  • Numbness in the nose
  • Swelling in the eye
  • One side swelling of the face
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Excretion of black mucus

These symptoms grow faster in people who are diabetic. As a word of caution people must be more vigilant about any of these symptoms and should visit a physician immediately in case showing symptoms.

Are there any Precautions? 

  • Follow social distancing
  • Wear masks
  • Wash hands
  • Diabetic patients should be in touch with their physicians as a precaution
  • People recovering from COVID-19 should consume immunity-boosting food and a lifestyle that boosts their immunity

What is the Treatment?

  • Antifungal medicine
  • In case of tissue damage, surgery to remove infected tissue