Is white fungus more dangerous than black fungus? Experts divided

black fungus
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

New Delhi: Even as concerns are being raised about black fungus infection (Mucormycosis), isolated cases of “white fungus” are being reported in the country. But experts are divided over which infection is more dangerous.

Currently, white fungus has been reported only in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Amid warnings that the white fungus is more dangerous than black fungus, a section of doctors has rejected this claim.

One section has been saying that this is just the commonly-seen candidiasis (caused by candida fungus). The Union Health Ministry is yet to make an official response.

Both the infections take advantage of the weakened immune system in humans.

The black fungus mainly affects the face and lungs. But the white fungus can affect skin, abdomen, kidney, brain and even the private parts, apart from the lungs. This is what makes the white fungus more dangerous. Once it enters the body, the fungal infection would affect the vital body parts. The white fungus can be detected through high-resolution CT (HRCT) scan.

Maintain hygiene

Along with immunity, maintaining hygiene is also crucial to keep both the fungal infections at bay. The risk of getting white fungus infection is high from untreated water sources. If the water used for steam-inhaling is not clean or fresh, it could cause a problem.

People with low immunity such as diabetic patients, cancer patients, those who underwent organ transplant surgeries, and people who have been on steroid for long should take precautions against both the fungal infections.

White fungus is said to be linked to Covid patients who are continuously on steroid, ventilator, and oxygen support. However, more studies are ongoing in this regard.

Covid-like symptoms

The white fungus was confirmed in four patients at Patna in Bihar. Though they showed Covid-like symptoms, they tested negative for Covid. Only when the fungal infection becomes widespread, will other symptoms surface. Concerns are being raised over the possibility of white fungus infection in those who have Covid-like symptoms but test negative for Coronavirus.

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