Black fungal infection: Symptoms and need for caution

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Kollam: The Department of Health has issued a warning against black fungal infection (mucormycosis), urging those with its symptoms to seek immediate medical help.

The department advised caution against the infection, even as it said the situation was not of concern. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), however, warned that ignoring the infection could turn fatal.

Infection

Though black fungal infection is not new, authorities are concerned over the rising number of cases among COVID-19 patients. Mucormycosis, which lowers immunity, has been reported in those on medication for other diseases also.

A person gets infected when his immune system does not function well. The fungus could affect the cranial cavities or lungs.

Symptoms

Redness of the skin around the eyes and nose. The patient may experience pain, fever, headache, cough, breathlessness, and may vomit blood, and exhibit altered consciousness.

Explained: What is ‘Black Fungus’ and how dangerous it is for COVID-19 patients?
Broad, wide-angle non-septate hyphae of the fungus Mucor, from the paranasal sinus of a patient with diabetes mellitus. Modified giemsa stain of frozen section. Photo: David A Litman/Shutterstock

Risk group

Those with uncontrolled diabetes, people with low immunity, those admitted to ICU for a prolonged period, cancer patients, and those who have undergone organ transplantation are susceptible to be affected.

When to be alert

Those with the fungal infection may have nasal congestion, black or blood-stained nasal discharge, pain on one part of the face, numbness, swelling, blackening or decolouration of the uvula and the bridge of the nose, toothache, loosening of/losing teeth, pain on the jaw, blurred vision, fever, lesions on the skin, chest pain and breathlessness.

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