Dr. Tapashi Gupta
Amid the pandemic, there have been some serious concerns about the increase in Covid-19 cases along with a number of fungal infections. After black and white fungus, the recent case of yellow fungus has become a cause for concern. However, Dr Navneet Sood, pulmonary consultant, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, said that “such fungal infections prevailed even before this pandemic, just that people were not that aware.”
“A person with lesser immunity or suffering from comorbidities is prone to a number of fungal infections. However, many non-COVID patients are also prone to some such infections as they have been suffering from other prolonged severe physical conditions which have deeply affected their body’s defense mechanism,” mentioned Dr Sood.
As India struggles hard with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases have been registered of these new fungal infections, which can be as deadly as the Coronavirus. Till now, three types of fungal cases have been reported in the country i.e., black, white and yellow.
The central government has asked all the states to declare black fungus as an epidemic. States like Rajasthan, Bihar, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu have already declared it as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
More than 5,400 cases of mucormycosis or black fungus have been registered, so far, in 18 states — with the majority from Gujarat and Maharashtra, said the Union health ministry. People suffering from diabetes and who are taking steroids are more prone to these fungal diseases.
What is black fungus or ‘mucormycosis’?
Black fungus or ‘mucormycosis’ is a life-threatening disease, which has infected COVID-19 patients and recovered patients as well. The fungus is caused by mucormycetes — a type of fungi — present in the environment. The fungus surrounds the blood vessels and destroys them resulting in tissue necrosis (death of body tissue) and can even lead to death.
Symptoms of Black Fungus:
Nasal blockage, Bleeding, Discharge from nose, Facial pain,Swelling,Numbness,Blurring of vision, and Double vision or watery eyes.
How can you protect yourself from Black fungus?
While in hospital —
Maintain good hygiene and cleanliness in your surroundings.
Maintain oral hygiene care with mouthwash, povidone-iodine gargles.
Use sterile water for humidification while administering oxygen, there should be no leakage from the humidifier.
Steroids usage should be limited not more than necessary with strict blood glucose control.
Avoid unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics or antifungals, can result in growth of unwanted bacteria or organisms.
After recovering from COVID-19 –
Maintain your surroundings clean and free from dust and dampness.
Maintain your oral and nasal hygiene.
Try to stay indoors and do regular exercise or workout.
Avoid construction areas, fields and grounds.
Avoid gardening as soil and plants abound with fungi. Use rubber gloves, masks, and boots, if unavoidable.
What is white fungus or aspergillosis?
White fungus is deadlier than black fungus, say experts. It spreads to several parts of your body and severely damages your lungs. Severe effects can be seen on the kidney, mouth, skin and brain. According to Dr. Kaushal Verma, professor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the white fungus begins from the tongue or private parts, it makes the tongue white, and then it spreads to other parts like lungs, brain and food pipes.
Symptoms of white fungus –
Cough, Fever, Diarrhoea, Dark spots on lungs,Reduced oxygen level,White patches in oral cavity, andSkin lesions
How can we protect ourself from white fungus?
People with low immunity are more prone to these fungal diseases, so it is necessary to maintain a healthy immune system.
Maintain your surroundings clean and free from dust.
What is yellow fungus?
N.guarroi, N.homonis are also called the mucor septic and generally causes fungal infection. First case of yellow fungus was reported in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad. Experts say yellow fungus can be scarier than black and white because of the manner it affects the body’s internal organs. Unlike black and white, yellow fungus starts internally, causes pus leakage, and leads to slow healing of wounds. In some serious cases, it could further lead to devastating symptoms like organ failure and acute necrosis (cell injury).
Symptoms of yellow fungus are loss of appetite, lethargy and weight loss. In latter stages of the infection patients suffering from yellow fungus exhibit severe symptoms sunken eyes due to malnutrition and organ failure, slow healing of wounds and oozing of pus from the wounds, and necrosis (cell injury that leads to death of cells and living tissues).
Fungal infections generally spread through bad hygiene, so it is important to have good hygiene habits.
Keep your surroundings clean.
Remove stale food from the house to prevent the growth of fungus or bacteria.
Humidity also plays an important role, so keep your humidity level between 30% to 40%.
Yellow Fungus Treatment:
Like mucormycosis, the treatment for yellow fungus is Amphotericin injection,or as per doctors advice.
Yellow Fungus Precautions:
Here are some of the precautions that one can take to protect themselves from the yellow fungus:
i) Keep your room, home and surroundings as clean as possible;
ii) Remove stale food and fecal matter immediately to check bacteria and fungal growth;
iii) Keep the humidity of the room and home under check as excessive humidity promotes bacteria growth. Just like for Covid patients maintaining clean air flow inside the room and homes is necessary.
iv) Coronavirus positive patients must immediately start treatment so complications like yellow fungus do not develop.
As per the ANI report, the Ghaziabad patient who has been diagnosed with a case of yellow fungus had been undergoing Covid treatment for the past two months and recovering from it as well. However, in the last four days or so the patient developed swelling in his face due to which he was unable to open his eyes. Then the patient began bleeding from his nose and in urine. He was rushed to the hospital where examination revealed that it was a case of yellow fungus.