Mucormycosis (Black fungus) : Sign & Symptoms, Precaution, Treatment and Prevention

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Mucormycosis, also known as Black fungus infection is a very rare infection caused by a group of mucor moulds (mucormycetes) exposure which is commonly found in the air, soil, plants, manure, decaying fruits, vegetables and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people. This mucormycetes causes sever complications when an ill patient inhales these, which then spreads into the sinus cavities, chest cavities, lungs, brain and the nervous systems.

Sign & Symptoms of Mucormycosis

It is very important to identify the signs and symptoms of black fungus infection because it can turn dangerous if left untreated. Common Sign and symptoms of black fungus infection are as follows…

  • The fungal infection could be primarily harmful having symptoms like nasal congestion, chest pain and worsening respiratory symptoms, persistent pain and headaches because of the sinus cavities and nerves affected.
  • In some cases, a critical symptoms like delirium, memory loss, confusion, neurological impairment, the altered mental state could be signs that a patient needs attention regarding mucormycosis.
  • Due to the grows and spreads of the fungal infection, vision can be distorted. Some people may also experience a sort of swelling in one eye, have hazy or poor vision, or develop bloodshot eyes.
  • Swelling, local pain on the cheekbone and one-sided facial pain or sort of numbness could also be primary markers of the infection.
  • The infection could also affect skin health and give rise to multiple lesions, necrosis, bleeding nose like symptoms.
  • In the most severe cases, the infection can result in the appearance of black patches around the eyes, nose (Facial distortion).
  • In some cases, sporadic growth of the fungal infection can leads to toothache and or a person to lose his or her teeth or jaws.

But this infection can be a life-threatening disease in Uncontrolled Diabetes mellitus patients, Prolonged ICU staying patient or severely Immunocompromised individuals due to long phage of immunosuppressive drugs or steroid therapy, such as people with HIV infection, malignancy patient as well as Transplant or Stem Cell Transplant patients etc..

Treatment of Mucormycosis

Mucormycosis is treated with anti-fungal medicines given through intravenously. These medicines generally include amphotericin B, posaconazole, or isavuconazole. The medicines are given as per the physician for a few weeks or till the fungus is completely controlled. Oral anti-fungal drugs are also prescribed. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also approved use the anti-fungal medication Liposomal Amphotericin as a medical intervention for Mucormycosisin patients.

However, most of the times, mucormycosis needs surgery to cut away the infected tissue which harbors the fungus. Mucormycosis causes ischemic necrosis (dead tissue by clogging the blood vessels). It is essential to remove all the dead tissue altogether. Many procedures may be required to achieve this.

 Prevention & Precaution of Mucormycosis

To prevent the disease following mandatory precautions are strictly require –

  • Do not avoid the signs and symptoms of black fungus infection. It can be very dangerous if it reaches the brain.
  • Blood glucose level should be monitored for Post-COVID discharge and Uncontrolled Diabetic mellitus patients. Maintain health lifestyle for controlling Hypertension & Hyperglycemia.
  • Use clean, sterile water for humidifiers during the oxygen therapy
  • Antibiotics/ antifungals and or Steroids medication should be used as per the instruction of physician with proper dose and duration.
  • Medical treatment includes installing peripherally inserted central catheter, maintaining adequate systemic hydration, infusion of normal saline intravenously before Amphotericin B infusion and anti-fungal therapy for at least six weeks.
  • Monitoring the patient clinically with radio imaging for response and to detect disease progression.
  •  Do not consider all the cases with a blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly in the context of immunosuppression and/or COVID-19 patients on immuno-modulators.
  • Wash hands frequently, wear a mask so that individual do not end up inhaling the fungal spores.
  • Avoid picking nose, don’t rub eyes and don’t scratching skin.

Apart from the above, another effective ways to avoid this deadly fungal infection is to strengthen immune system. Likewise, take medications on time and maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibres and proteins.

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