Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has reported the first case of Black fungus on Thursday. A State Government spokesperson informed that the disease has been observed on the rise in post-Covid patients in the country.

As per the evidence-based advisory issued by ICMR, it has been informed that uncontrolled diabetes, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, comorbidities, malignancy are the predisposing factors for Black fungus disease.

What is Black Fungus disease?

Black Fungus is a rare kind of fungal infection affecting 1 in 10,00,000 people, but with an overall mortality rate of 50 per cent.

Black Fungus is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS.

Experts says that the spores of black fungus are found throughout the environment even in the soil and air. It mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air.

Symptoms of Black Fungus

The symptoms of black fungus include pain and redness around eyes or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits.

* Sinusitis — nasal blockage or congestion, nasal discharge (blackish/bloody)

* Pain on the cheekbone, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling

* Blackish discolouration over the bridge of nose/palate

* Loosening of teeth, jaw involvement

* Blurred or double vision with pain

* Thrombosis, necrotic skin lesion

* Chest pain, pleural effusion, worsening of respiratory symptoms

Precaution for Black Fungus

For the benefit of the general public, it is advised that the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients should be well controlled and the steroids should not be used indiscriminately for the purpose of COVID treatment.

Change N95 or cotton masks frequently. It’s observed that medical, surgical, N95 or cotton masks are being used multiple times. These masks get wet due to the humidity in our breathing. If these masks are used for multiple days without changing or washing, a perfect atmosphere is created for the growth of fungus. So all citizens are advised to wash the cloth mask daily and dry it in sunlight. These masks should be ironed before use, after washing or in case of reuse so that no fungus grows on it and the risk of black fungus is minimalized.

Himachal Govt preparation to beat black fungus disease

Himachal has already issued an advisory regarding the prevention and management of black fungus disease in the hospitals.

The Director Health Services and Director Medical Education have been asked to take stock of adequate antifungal drugs like Amphotericin B in their respective institutions.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.