Bhubaneswar: An isolated case of ‘Black Fungus’ infection has been reported in Odisha. The patient is stable at present and treatment is available for this infection.
“The case has not been reported from COVID hospitals yet. In this case, the source of the infection was water stored in a cooler,” Additional Chief Secretary (Health), PK Mohapatra informed.
“The growth of this fungus is on damp surfaces. This has not contracted from hospitals,” he added. Black fungus or Mucormycosis, is a fungal disease caused by a group of filamentous fungi called mucorales (black fungus).
According to reports, the patient is 71-year-old and in home isolation. He had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 20. The nasal endoscopy of the patient showed black deposits on turbinate, a report by the treating ENT Specialist, Dr. Radhamadhav Sahu (of this patient) read.
Mucorales are commonly found throughout the environment and in decaying organic matter, soil, compost, and animal excreta; particularly in a wet environment.
“The situation is being monitored and the treatment for Mucormycosis is available,” added Mohapatra. This comes a day after a leading private hospital in Delhi flagged the rising number of COVID-triggered Mucormycosis or black fungus cases.
The conditions like HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus cancers, kidney failure, organ transplant, long-term corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy, increase the risk of this disease and the predisposing factor for most of the cases prior to Covid 19 pandemic. It is rare in persons with normal immunity.
As of 2021, steroids, Tocilizumab, Itolizumab, etc. are used to reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19. But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients. It’s thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering factors in some cases of Mucormycosis. But still, it is uncommon.
Head of the National Covid-19 taskforce Dr VK Paul has clarified this is not a big outbreak at present.
Early detection, timely diagnosis, and treatment are most important. The drugs required for the treatment of this disease like amphotericin B or posaconazole are readily available.
“Whoever has diabetes needs to control the sugar level always. We are promoting the administration of steroids but they should not be given at the onset of COVID-19. Steroids should not be taken unnecessarily and can be given after the sixth day / when there will be oxygen requirement, only under the prescription of a doctor,” Mohapatra said.
Similarly, Tocilizumab and Itolizumab should only be decided when required as it can be dangerous. Finally, public should be assured that the facilities for diagnosis and treatment are readily available in the State, the ACS Health further stated.