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‘Black Fungus’ (mucormycosis) and COVID-19: Myths and Facts



Doctors examine patients with mucosal disease at a hospital in Bhopal.  India on May 29, 2021Share on Pinterest
Doctors examine patients with mucosal disease at a hospital in Bhopal. India on May 29, 2021 Xinhua News/Getty Images

In India, COVID-19 has led to an increase in cases of a potentially fatal fungal infection known as mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus.” with what the media has shown But there are many myths circulating on social media about the source of infection and potential treatment.

The human body is not the usual habitat for fungi belonging to the group Mucorales, which includes species commonly found in soil, dust, decaying plants and manure.

Our immune systems are often more than just fungi, but the “impure trinity” of diabetes, COVID-19, and steroid treatments can weaken a person’s immunity to such an extent that these microbes can set up. can master

Diabetes doesn’t just increase a person’s risk of COVID-19. only severe But it also causes conditions in which fungal infections can thrive. Even worse, both COVID-19 and steroid dexamethasone which ICU doctors use to treat that suppress the immune system

Subsequent infections, known as mucormycosis, or zygomycosis, spread rapidly from the nose and sinuses to the face, jaw, eyes, and brain.

As of 26 May 2021, there were 11,717 confirmed cases of endometriosis in India, with which more people More people live with diabetes than any other country in the world except China.

Even before the epidemic The prevalence of mucous membranes in India may be 70 times higher than the overall figure in other countries around the world.

The fungus obstructs blood flow, which kill infected tissue And this is dead tissue or necrotic tissue that causes a characteristic black discoloration of human skin. more than the fungus itself

However, the term “black fungus” seems to stick.

Professor Malcolm Richardson, professor of medicine of mycology at the University of Manchester, UK, told medical news today that the title is “totally inappropriate”

“Representatives of mucormycosis — Rhizopus oryzaeFor example — it’s hyaline (transparent),” he wrote in an email.

“From a fungal perspective, the term ‘black fungus’ (or ‘black yeast’) is restricted to so-called dematiaceous fungi that have melanin in their cell walls. Many people tried to fix this on Twitter, but to no avail.”

He said the media in India were using the similarly misleading terms “white fungus” and “yellow fungus” to describe the variations. of the mucous membrane

If not treated immediately with antifungal drugs and surgical removal of the necrotic tissue. Endometriosis that is often life-threatening

before the epidemic The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the overall mortality rate of 54%.

A 2021 systematic review of all COVID-19-related cases published in scientific papers found 101 cases: 82 in India and 19 from other parts of the world. % fatal

Dr. Awadhesh Kumar Singh and co-authors report that approximately 60% of all cases occur during active SARS-CoV-2 infection and 40% occur after recovery.

Overall, 80% of the patients had diabetes and 76% were on corticosteroids.

Several theories about the source of mucosal infection are spreading on social media. Most of which are unfounded.

transfer from person to person

Most importantly, mucormycosis cannot be transmitted from person to person. Therefore, there is no need to separate people. unless there is an ongoing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

On the other hand, the source of infection comes from the environment. from airborne spores caused by fungi

Fungi that grow in water, oxygen tanks, humidifiers.

Some media experts have concluded that mold must grow in dirty water in oxygen tanks or hospital humidifiers. However, there is no evidence that this can happen. And mycologists have pointed out that fungi are unable to form spores in liquids.

Moreover Pure oxygen stored in cylinders is prone to detrimental growth of all types of microorganisms.

black fungus prevention face mask

This is a myth. There is no evidence that face masks can harbor mold.

the onion is guilty

Another popular theory is The black mold that is sometimes seen on onions in the refrigerator is Mucorales, and therefore is a common cause of infection.

as we have seen The species in question is not black. In fact, the black mold found on onions and garlic is usually a fungus. Aspergillus niger.

In a 2019 paper, Professor Richardson and co-authors describe how Mucorales grows on moldy bread. Rotting fruits and vegetables, crop scraps, soil, compost and manure

He points out that they have high humidity requirements and are unlikely to survive common building materials such as wood, painted surfaces. and ceramic tiles. He concludes:

“All of these observations suggest that home dwellers are generally not exposed to zygomyces in their home environments. other than food items contaminated with mold, such as bread and fruit.”

Published evidence points to possible sources of many hospital infections. But did not mention the oxygen tank. Air humidifier or mask

Two studies — published in 2014 and 2016 respectively — associated with hospital linens from poorly managed laundry as a source.

A 2009 review of research on hospital outbreaks identified ventilation systems. wooden tongue press adhesive bandage and airbags are another source of infection.

pathologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. report Another possible route is to inhale spores in dust from nearby building works or contaminated air conditioning filters.

They also highlighted the importance of transcutaneous infections, such as burns, where the catheter was inserted. Injuries from syringes, insect bites and stings

Videos made around on social media suggest a blend of mustard oil, potash alum, and rock salt. And turmeric can treat mucormycosis.

in fact The only proven treatment is surgery to remove the necrotic tissue. and amphotericin However, India currently faces severe drug shortages.

just as important The doctor should identify the underlying cause of the immune deficiency. In particular, poorly managed diabetes and excessive use of corticosteroids.

In a recent review, Dr. Singh and colleagues concluded that:

“Three groups of diabetes that are not pure Rampant use of corticosteroids in the background of COVID-19 appears to increase mucosal formation. All efforts should be made to maintain proper blood sugar levels and use only Careful use of corticosteroids in COVID-19 patients only.”

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