Many health care facilities throughout Pakistan have confirmed cases of mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus,” among coronavirus patients.
Mucormycosis, according to infectious disease researchers, is a fatal fungal infection that has been observed in several severe Covid-19 patients with unregulated diabetes and a lengthy stay in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Many centres did not register the reports, according to infectious disease experts, since it is difficult to detect and diagnose this deadly fungal infection in patients.
According to the researchers, black fungus affects the brain and lungs and can also be observed in non-Covid patients with similar co-morbidities and a prolonged ICU stay.
“We have seen at least five cases of Mucormycosis also called, black fungus, among serious Covid -19 patients under treatment at the ICU,” a physician dealing with coronavirus patients at a tertiary-care hospital in Karachi disclosed to the publication.
According to him, at least four people died as a result of this complication. He went on to say that “At least two more centres have also reported Mucormycosis cases among Covid-19 patients,” he added
Due to the sensitivity of the situation, the infectious diseases specialist from Karachi demanded anonymity. He also revealed that black fungus cases have been seen in at least three hospitals in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, several people have died as a result of a deadly fungal infection with a death rate of more than 50%, he said.
“This fungal infection mainly affects people on medications that weaken their immune system and reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens,” one of the experts said.
19 patients also have poor tolerance and are given steroids, making them simple targets for black fungus, according to the specialist.
According to him, it’s an uncommon but deadly fungal infection triggered by a community of moulds called micromycetes, which are only in nature.
According to him, the usage of steroids in Covid-19 patients, the virus infection itself, and untreated diabetes coupled with a long stay in ICUs provide optimal conditions for Mucormycosis to grow.
Due to their hot and humid climates, Mucormycosis was more prevalent in India and Pakistan. “It’s the same fungus that grows on bread,” says the author. “It’s the black one,” he clarified.
“Mucormycosis and other moulds, such as CAPA, are also seen in COVID-19 patients, which is Covid-19 Associated Pulmonary Aspergillosis,” he added, adding that they can trigger severe complications.
‘The fungus pores normally enter by inhalation.’
The fungi’ spores usually penetrate the body by inhalation and damage the sinuses and lungs, according to the medical specialist. They may even infect the skin by entering from an open cut or wound.
In response to a query, the official said that some infectious diseases experts were warning each other regarding Mucormycosis among their patients from their centres, but that authorities or epidemiological officials were not being consulted because it was not a “reportable disease.”
“This (Mucormycosis) is a highly lethal fungal infection, Covid or non- Covid anyway, whose mortality is around 50 percent and we know that following Covid-19 chances of contracting the fungal infection are very high,” he added.