What We Know about Black Fungus in Bangladesh
A suspected patient of mucormycosis, known as black fungus, has died at a hospital in Dhaka, doctors said on Tuesday.
The case was probably the first case in Bangladesh, in which a patient aged 65 recovered from Covid-19 and died of the deadly black fungus in Bangladesh.
The development came when the doctors in Dhaka’s Birdem General Hospital detected two other patients with black fungus. Both the two patients had recovered from Covid-19 disease.
According to media report, Bangladesh government instructed all hospitals and clinics to report any suspected case of the black fungus infection immediately.
The country’s Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday called upon the people not to panic over the disease. Necessary steps were being taken to deal with black fungus in Bangladesh, he added.
What is black fungus (mucormycosis)?
Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. Black fungus, or scientific name mucormycosis is caused by mold found in damp environments like soil or compost. According to a CNN report, it can attack the respiratory tract and is not contagious and does not spread from person to person.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says several types of fungi can cause black fungus infection. These fungi are not harmful to most people, it says.
Those who are weak in immune systems are at risk of the infections, the CDC says.
Black fungus commonly affects the sinuses or lungs. When a person inhales fungal spores in the air, it can affect the skin following a surface injury like a cut or burn.
Indian doctors say the risk of death from mucormycosis is 50%. They think the infection can start with the use of steroids. Covid-19 is now being treated with steroids to save their lives in the treatment of severely affected people.
Steroids help in reducing inflammation of the lungs in people with Covid-19. When the body’s immune system becomes overactive while fighting Coronavirus, doctors also use steroids to treat Indian coronavirus variant patients to prevent damage to various organs of the body.
But the use of these steroids also reduces normal immunity. In diabetic patients, it even increases blood sugar levels. It is believed that mucormycosis infection is caused by the body’s own immunity loss.
Symptoms of black fungus
Symptoms that usually develop in patients infected with black fungus include:
- Nasal closure and bleeding from the nose
- Pain in the eyes and swelling of the eyes
- Dangling eyelids
- Blurred vision in the eyes, which then leads to loss of vision
- Black spots around the nose skin
Who are at a higher risk of infection?
Covid-19 patients who are diabetic, take steroids, have cancer or transplanted organs are at higher risk of black fungus infection.
These patients who recovered from Covid-19 infection are mostly in vulnerable situation of the deadly mucormycosis infection.
More than 7,200 people so far in India have been reported with black fungus and 219 of them have already lost their lives, according to Indian media report.
According to the Indian doctors, they are very surprised by the fungal infection in the second wave of the Coronavirus and the spread of it so quickly. The fungal infection was relatively low during the first wave of Covid-19 last year.