COVID-19 is a virus that infects the body. With 23.3 million overall infections and rising, India currently has one of the highest case rates in the world. Hundreds of thousands of cases every day have strained hospitals, with health authorities scrambling to find accommodation. In addition, certain people who have been infected with the coronavirus or are recovering have developed a strange disease called black mold.

Deadly Black Fungus Are Damaging COVID-19 Patients In India, Doctors Warn
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Zygomycosis/mucormycosis Large, irregular, non-septate hyphae; some with 90-degree angle branching.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is most often associated with wet areas of the household, such as baths and kitchens.

Although it is poisonous and can cause health issues if exposed for an extended time, COVID-associated black mold is a whole different animal, and it is much more harmful.

Authorities in India investigating Covid cases discovered cases of mucormycosis, an unusual fungus with a high mortality rate.

Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus or zygomycosis, is caused by the micromycetes, a kind of mold.

These fungi can be found in the environment, mainly in soil and rotting organic matter like leaves, compost piles, and rotten wood.

When anyone inhales these fungal spores, they are more likely to develop a sinus or lung infection.

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Mucormycosis, according to medical researchers, is an "opportunistic parasite." It means it latches on to sick people or taking antibiotics that reduce the body's capacity to combat infections.

COVID-19 patients have a low immune system, and many of them are given steroids to suppress an overactive immune system, leaving them vulnerable to other fungal infections like mucormycosis, according to researchers.

The bulk of mucormycosis infections have been seen in COVID-19 patients who have diabetes or undiagnosed elevated blood sugar. The fungi grow in India because of the low air quality and excessive dust in cities like Mumbai. Dr. Milind Navalakhe, an ENT surgeon at Global Hospital in Mumbai who performed the palate-removal operation on Deshmukh, told Al Jazeera that India's widespread abuse and overuse of steroids and antibiotics contributes to the spread of infections.

What to Do If You Have Black Fungus

Mucormycosis starts as a skin infection in the air pockets between our noses, nose, cheekbones, and between our teeth. The infection then spreads to the skin, lungs, and even the brain. It causes nasal discoloration, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing problems, and bloody coughing.

National Geographic said doctors give antifungal drugs, such as liposomal amphotericin B injections, to patients for at least 10 days to several weeks after experts diagnose them with such a disease. However, these life-saving medications may have serious side effects, such as kidney damage.

In certain cases, surgery is needed. Doctors inject an endoscope into the nasal cavity to scrape some diseased tissue in less acute situations. If the infection spreads more, the eyes or jaw bone can need to be removed.

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