Amidst the COVID-19 wave that hit India just recently, its population is also dealing with Black Fungus.
After a chaotic year following a virus that affected the entire world, a "new" disease known as 'Black Fungus' has struck India. It’s affecting a large number of people, although according to the numbers, it’s very rare. The world has its eyes on it, will it become a global disease again? Probably not to that degree; still it’s important to be aware of its symptoms and treatment.
What is Black Fungus?
Its scientific term is mucormycosis. It’s a disease that produces a type of mold that's located in humid environments. It attacks the respiratory tract, arteries, and veins of tissues, resulting in the interruption of blood flow causing, in the most severe cases, necrosis (tissue death).
Symptoms of black fungus
Although many of the symptoms are quite common, if there's something we’ve learned this year is that we must be aware of our bodies and any changes they might present. Having good communication with doctors and health departments is crucial. So even when Black Fungus is rare, and there aren't many cases in the rest of the world, knowledge can give us a head start.
Initially, Black Fungus affects the sinuses but can go all the way to the lung. These are the most common symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Spots in the nose
- Nasal bleeding
- Swelling and burning in the eyes
- Swelling in the face
- Drooping eyelids
- Black lesions in the mouth
- Sores on the skin
- Blurred vision
Most of the people infected with Black Fungus have waited until their vision is almost zero and there is nothing left to do but remove the eye to prevent the infection from reaching the brain and further complicating it.
How is it transmitted?
Black Fungus is transmitted by breathing the spores that may be in the environment, not only in the air but also in plants, soil, and even fruits or vegetables. It's not transmitted by person-to-person contact.
Who is most likely to be infected?
Black Fungus is not harmful to most people, it attacks people with a weakened defense system such as patients with diabetes, HIV, or coronavirus. Unfortunately, the mortality rate is quite high; over 50%, as it affects vital organs very quickly. Much higher than that of the coronavirus.
In the most advanced cases, the affected or dead tissues must be removed as soon as possible with surgery and patients must take an anti-fungal drug for eight weeks. This drug is also given to milder cases. So far, it's the only effective treatment to control Black Fungus.
Actually, Black Fungus is a very rare disease in the world, except in India. However, as we’ve learned this past year, we must be attentive to any changes we present in our bodies.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
Images courtesy of EFE
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