Spike in black fungus cases: Health minister has this advice for you

Dr Harsh Vardhan answered important questions about the infection

COVID-19, testing kits, coronavirus, Coronavirus outbreak, Kerala, Harsh Vardhan
'Awareness and early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection,' Dr Vardhan tweeted | PTI Photo

Union Minister of Health Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday advised people on the early detection and management of mucormycosis, or black fungus.

The infection was first reported in some people from Delhi and Gujarat who recently recovered from COVID-19. In the past few days several cases have been reported in Maharashtra, where Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said there could be more than 2,000 infections. And with more and more COVID-19 cases coming up, “their number would increase for sure”, the minister said.

In Mumbai at least 111 patients, all COVID-19 survivors, are undergoing treatment for mucormycosis in hospitals, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. A 44-year-old man in the city lost his eyesight due to the infection.

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“Awareness and early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection,” Dr Vardhan tweeted on Friday, along with infographics on the topic.

Dr Vardhan addressed the following questions about the disease:

What is mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection mainly affecting people with medical health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens.

How can a patient contract the infection?

People having co-morbities, variconazole therapy, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids or prolonged ICU stay can get predisposed to the fungal infection.

What are possible symptoms of mucormycosis?

Pain or redness around the eyes, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomit and altered mental status are possible symptoms of the infection.

“Don’t consider all cases of blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, especially in the cases of immunosuppression and/or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators,” the minister tweeted.

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