What is black fungus, the rare disease that affects …

India, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is now facing proliferation at an alarming rate of a rare fungal infection, known as “black fungus”, which occurs mainly between convalescing from covid-19. It is believed to be associated with excessive use of steroids and polluted waters.

At least nine states classified mucormycosis as an epidemic on Thursday, being one of the most affected Maharashtra, with more than 2,000 cases. According to the press, around 200 patients are being treated in health clinics. New Delhi and dozens of them are waiting to get a bed in a hospital. States of Rajasthan and Telangana they also presented cases of “black fungus”.

The capital’s head of government, Arvind Kejriwal, announced that Specialized centers will be created within three New Delhi hospitals to prevent the spread of the fungus.

Meanwhile, on social networks, requests are multiplying to find antifungal treatments. The most requested is liposomal Amphotericin B, which is why the Indian Minister of Health announced that it would increase its production.

In that sense, most of the criticism that circulates in that country points to the lack of foresight of the state and federal authorities, which should have taken measures when the first cases were registered, months ago.

Rapid spread

Before the second wave of coronavirus that killed 100,000 people in India last month, cases of mucormycosis were rare in the country. Those affected used to be patients with diabetes, HIV, or transplant patients, with immunosuppressed organisms.

According to experts such as Professor K. Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India, the rapid spread of this infection that is currently registered is attributed to the uncontrolled use of steroids to treat coronavirus patients.

“People have been using them excessively and inappropriately,” said the professor, who also noted that contaminated water in oxygen cylinders or humidifiers give the fungus a chance to enter the body.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the first symptoms of this infection, which has a 54% mortality rate, are headaches, swelling of the face and fever.

Hospitalized for coronavirus

After about 12 days of steroid treatment, Bhartiben Shah, a covid-19 patient, began to complain of severe headaches that did not go away with the usual painkillers. A few days later, the pain became unbearable and his eye was swollen, recalled his son Smit Shah in dialogue with AFP.

“An MRI showed a spot, but it was not evident that it was a black fungus. But we admitted her to the hospital shortly after,” he said. After a biopsy, the infection was confirmed, so the young man launched a campaign on social networks to get a treatment with Anfotericina B liposomal.

Parvesh Dubey, 33, had worse luck. Hospitalized in Madhya Pradesh, he appeared to be recovering when his family was announced that he had died of mucormycosis.

“We changed” the hospital, said a relative who did not want to identify himself, “and there the doctors operated on his nose and cheek, he already had a damaged eye, the doctors were trying to save the other.” “We lost it in a week,” lamented the relative, “we did everything possible.”

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