should we be concerned about the “black fungus” affecting India? An expert responds

Mucormycosis, a fungal infection seen over the past few weeks in a growing number of former coronavirus patients in India, is not new, in that it was first diagnosed nearly century and a half, said Dr. Tayeb Hamdi, physician and researcher in health systems and policies.

There is no reason to panic, as the disease is rare and non-contagious, meaning it is not passed from person to person, he said, commenting on the wind of panic. on social media prompted by the increase in India of cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as “black fungus”.

According to him, “there is no need to worry in our country and in most countries of the world”, given that the incidence rate of fungal infection is less than two cases per million. people per year.

India is facing an increase in the number of people infected with this disease due to several factors put together that are not found in other countries, namely a massive wave of daily Covid-19 infections, a number very high in diabetics whose disease is not controlled, as well as environmental and health conditions favorable to the spread of this type of fungi, explained Dr Hamdi.

Indeed, he added, mucormycosis only manifests itself if several conditions are met, namely a weakened immune system in the patient, a lack of hygiene and excessive and uncontrolled use of certain drugs that reduce the body’s immunity.

Mucormycosis is caused by a type of fungus in the mucoral family, he said, noting that these microorganisms are ubiquitous in the environment, plants, plants, tree leaves at the decay stage and in animals.

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When they enter the human body by inhalation and sometimes through skin wounds, mucoral (the fungi that cause infection, Editor’s note) infect the nose and sinuses and infiltrate the lungs and sometimes the eyes, brain and other organs, recalled the doctor, pointing out that the fungus clogs the vessels causing tissue necrosis, which explains the black spots that appear in the affected areas.

The infection affects immunocompromised patients, especially diabetics whose disease is not controlled, he said, attributing the increase in cases of the disease in India to a hot and humid climate conducive to the growth of fungi. in general, as well as to the high number of diabetics who do not benefit from adequate follow-up.

Likewise, the practitioner indicated that patients suffering from this fungal infection usually have several symptoms including a stuffy nose, high temperature, swelling and pain on one side of the face, swelling of the eye, accompanied cough. bleeding and blackish spots on the face.

This situation requires immediate treatment for several weeks, and doctors sometimes have to remove the affected eye surgically to prevent the infection from reaching the brain and causing death.

The death rate from mucormycosis is very high, approaching 50%, warned Dr. Hamdi, noting that the chances of survival depend on the severity of the infection, the patient’s immunity, early diagnosis and the condition. effectiveness of treatment.

NH

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