New black fungal infection among infected a worry

ICMR advises against self-medication

New black fungal infection among infected a worry

Patients on oxygen support at a hospital in Jammu. PTI

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 9

With evidence mounting on a new fatal black fungal infection among Covid-19 survivors and infected patients, especially those with diabetes or kidney/heart failure history, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Sunday issued an advisory, urging people to look for the warning signs.

WARNING SYMPTOMS

Sinusitis, nasal discharge (black or bloody), pain on cheek bone, one-sided facial pain, numbness/swelling, blackish discoloration over the nose bridge, toothache, loosening of teeth, blurred or double vision with fever, skin lesion, thrombosis, chest pain, shortness of breath

The evidence-based advisory covers screening, diagnosis and management of mucormycosis (black fungus) which has been found to cause higher mortality in Covid patients with many suffering from loss of eyesight and removal of nose and jaw bone due to the fungus. The disease has been observed more in Covid-19 recovered patients with comorbidities like diabetes and cancer.

“Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens,” the ICMR explained. “If you have sinusitis, nasal discharge (black or bloody), pain on the cheek bone, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling, blackish discoloration over the bridge of nose, toothache, loosening of teeth, blurred or double vision with pain, fever, skin lesion, thrombosis, chest pain or worsening of respiratory symptoms, you should suspect mucormycosis and seek immediate help,” the advisory says.

Top experts say the best way to manage the black fungus is to control diabetes, reduce steroid use, discontinue immunomodulating drugs in Covid positive people and resort to surgical interventions to remove nose or tooth ulcers, a sign of black fungus.

Protection steps

  • Control high blood glucose
  • Monitor blood glucose level post Covid-19 discharge
  • Use steroids rationally under medical advice
  • Use sterile water for humi-difiers during O2 therapy
  • Use antibiotics and anti-fungals judiciously
  • Do not consider black nose as bacterial sinusitis

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