In the midst of the Covid pandemic, which has claimed the lives of many Indians, a new epidemic has emerged that seems to be a national outbreak. The black fungus is one of the latest pathogens that has emerged in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, which has left the country in a state of shock.
India, one of the worst-hit countries by the Covid pandemic and where the second wave of this pandemic has created a dilemma of menace and despair, is now the centre of all of this deadliest infection known as Black Fungus. Black Fungus is medically known as mucormycosis which is made of several different fungal species.
Rhizopus is one of the most common species of fungus. India however has reported cases of the
Apophysomyces species which is infecting people. This fungus has a black fuzzy appearance.
Mucormycosis species are widespread in the ecosystem and are found among the different species of this fungus. The fungus develops into the soil on decaying material, according to researchers and reports, and can create spores as part of its life cycle. This is not an air-bone illness, but it can be spread through the air if the soil is disturbed or if it is dry or dusty.
The crucial element needed to overcome this disease or withstand it is a body with strong immunity. A good immunity in the body of a person cannot catch up to this disease.
But once the fungus holds on to a person’s body, it can bench off into the blood vessels and start killing the tissues, which can even become a life-threatening situation further.
This fungus can very rarely pass from person to person but can enter into an individual’s body through open wounds or swallowed on through contaminated food or medicine.
This lethal disease is unfolding and spreading a lot in India. India has reported more than 80,000 new cases of black fungus in the middle of the Covid crises.
The normally rare infection, called mucormycosis, has a mortality rate of 50%, with some only saved by removing an eye. According to the doctors, the spread of this black fungus is seen a lot in the people who have recovered by the Covid 19 and it is seen mostly after the 8 to 9 days of recovery.
Doctors say that this infection is linked with the steroids used to treat Covid patience and hence it is seen a lot more in people who have been recovered from the virus.
According to some of the reports, the reason behind the spread of this infection is also linked with the use of industrial oxygen for the Covid victim. Even though the industrial oxygen cylinder has been a lot of help, the unhygienic and not so good storage process of this oxygen cylinder can also be one of the reasons for the rise of this infection.
The western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra have reported more than half of the reported cases. At least 15 more states have reported between 900 cases. Following the rise in cases, India’s 29 states have been told to declare the disease an epidemic. Almost 80% of the people infected need to undergo surgery to evacuate this fungus from the body. With the upswing in cases of Black Fungus, the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences has declared some of the primary symptoms of this disease. According to AIIMS, people having uncontrolled diabetes and who are on high doses of steroids are at a massive risk of getting infected by this disease.
Symptoms of Black Fungus infection
- Abnormal black discharge or crust or blood from the nose.
- Nasal blockage, headache or eye pain.
- Swelling around the eyes, double vision, redness of the eye, loss of vision, difficulty in the closing eye, inability to open the eye, prominence of the eye.
- Facial numbness or tingling sensation.
- Difficulty in chewing or opening mouth.
- Regular self-examination: Full face examination in daylight, for facial swelling (especially nose, cheek, around the eye) or black discolouration, hardening, and pain on touch.
- In the most severe cases, this fungus may result in the loss of eyesight or a gaping hole in the infected person’s face. As per the studies of 2005, 929 cases were dated back to 1885 and had an overall mortality rate of 54%.
The mortality rate is mostly dependent on the area or the part of the body that it has caught hold of the infection. It can be said it’s a lot more infectious and deadly for people with a lung infection in comparison to the ones with a sinus infection.
The major questions and concern for the people of India are how they are going to overcome this disease and its spread in the already diminished and worsen circumstance of the Covid pandemic. The government of India must come up with the best measures to uproot this growing disease for India.