Some Covid-19 patients in India have developed a rare and deadly fungal infection called “black rot”, according to news reports.
“Black rot” is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes that grow in soil and decaying organic matter, such as rotting leaves and wood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“It is ubiquitous and it is found in soil, air, and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people,” said Dr. Akshay Nair, an eye surgeon in Mumbai.
Mold can enter the body through wounds in the skin, or the infection can spread to the sinuses or lungs after inhaling the fungal spores. Once inside the body, the fungus can sometimes spread through the bloodstream and affect other organs, such as the brain, eyes, spleen, and heart.
And “black mold” affects those with weakened immune systems, including people with diabetes and those who take drugs that suppress immune activity, according to the CDC. Now, it appears that an increasing number of “Covid-19” patients in India are becoming infected, he said mentioned The New York Times.
For example, in Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, 200 people have contracted “black mold” after recovering from “Covid-19”, and eight have died of black fungus, according to the Times, citing local news coverage.
Cases are also emerging in Delhi and Gujarat, where the state government has ordered 5,000 doses of the antifungal drug amphotericin B to treat the disease.
Dr VK Paul, head of India’s Covid Task Force, said at a press conference last week: “We heard that in some areas, people with ‘Covid’ or recovering have ‘black rot’, but there is no major outbreak of it We are watching and watching, “according to the Times.
“BBC News” reported that the increase in cases may be related to the use of steroids in hospitalized “Covid-19” patients, because the drugs suppress the immune system.
Nair told “BBC News”: “Diabetes reduces the body’s immune defenses, and the Corona virus exacerbates it, and then the steroids that help fight” Covid-19 “act as fuel for fire.”
In addition, many families have had to treat their relatives for “Covid-19” at home, which means that people may be exposed to mold after receiving drugs or oxygen treatment in less than sterile conditions, the newspaper said.
Nair saw dozens of Mumbai-based patients infected with the black fungus in April. “BBC News” reported that many of them had diabetes and had recently recovered from “Covid-19” at home, as hospitals were full of patients. Eleven patients needed to have an eye surgically removed due to a fungal infection, as mold can easily spread from the eye to the brain.
In the early stages of infection, patients often develop a stuffy nose or nosebleeds. Swollen eyes; Drooping eyelids or blurred vision, BBC News reported. Black spots can also appear on the skin around the nose.