Mucormycosis, previously known as zygomycosis, is a rare but serious fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. It is also known as black fungus which is found in the environment mostly in soil and decaying organic matter. Currently, it is mostly being detected in COVID patients. At least one out of five cases are found to be related to eyes.
It mostly affects sinuses, brain and lungs. It is not contagious but can damage internally and it can be fatal if not diagnosed early and treated early.
This life-threatening infection mostly occur in immuno compromised individuals such as, people recovering from COVID. Similarly, people with uncontrolled diabetes, prolonged ICU stay, people suffering from Cancer and AIDS are also more prone to infection. Similarly Individuals who had undergone organ transplantation are also at risk.
Furthermore, extreme malnutrition also associates with Mucormycosis.
How Infection Happens?
Such Fungus is found most commonly in moist soil, decaying organic matter, leaves, dung, and so on in the environment. Knowingly or Unknowingly, when we move through such areas or work over there, we might inhale fungal spores. Our body will fight against it normally. But it matters a lot with immunocompromised individuals.
Most common route that spores enters in an individual body is via inhalation. Similarly other entry point could be injury site or burn and foods can also play a role.
Mucormycosis Signs And Symptoms
Actually signs and symptoms depends upon where fungus is growing or simply infected parts of the body. It frequently affects the sinuses, brain and lungs but can also affects other body parts too. If you notice following symptoms, contact or visit your health care provider in time.
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses): Nasal Congestion or Blockade, Blackish or Bloody Nasal Discharge, One-sided facial pain and pain on the cheekbone.
- Blackish discoloration over nose bridge and palate.
- Pain and Redness around eyes with blurred or double vision.
- Eyelid, periocular and facial edema with discoloration of the same region.
- Ptosis (Drooping of the upper eyelid), Proptosis (Bulging of the eyeball anteriorly )
- Fever, pneumonia, skin lesion, chest pain as well as worsening respiratory symptoms.
- Teeth loosening and Toothache
- Thrombosis ( Formation of a blood clot inside blood vessel which obstructs the blood flow )
- Necrosis (Cell death that occurs due to injuries or infection) i.e. Entire area will die so doctors go for surgical removal of that part.
- Altered Mental Status.
Individuals often are not aware if they had mucormycosis. It is quite challenging and treatment should start as soon as possible so as to minimize risks.
Health professionals will take proper medical history, symptoms along with physical examinations. Similarly, for diagnosis they may ask for laboratory tests. If you have any suspected sinus infection, your health care provider may collect a sample of nasal discharge.
Furthermore, health care professionals may perform a tissue biopsy. Professional may also ask to do Imaging tests like CT scans of lungs or other body parts depending upon the location of the suspected infection.
Treatment of Mucormycosis
Successful treatment of mucormycosis requires both surgical and antifungal drugs. Treatment basically to be done in a multidisciplinary hospital because various specialist doctors may be required.
Usually, Antifungal drug Amphotericin B is given through vein. Oral posaconazole or isavuconazole can also be used for treatment. Surgical removal of the infected tissue is also one of the treatment of mucormycosis.
Furthermore, Treatment further includes controlling and monitoring the sugar levels along with improving neutrophil counts.
Most importantly, three to four months of follow up is most important.
How to prevent yourself from Mucormycosis?
We all know that prevention is far better than cure so why not prevent this life-threatening condition. It is not only limit to COVID patients. Immunocompromised Individuals can be victims of this condition. One can apply the following measures so as to prevent Mucormycosis.
- Control and Monitor Blood Sugar level Regularly in both Post COVID discharged and Diabetic Patients.
- Use Steroid Carefully under medical supervision.
- Maintain personal hygiene.
- Use proper masks while visiting outdoors so as to be safe from COVID and Mucormycosis both.
- Make sure to wear proper masks, shoes, long sleeve shirts, trousers, gloves while working in the fields.
- Do not miss any warning signs and symptoms. Make Sure to visit the hospital and treat in time if any oral ulcer suspects.
- Do not get late for investigations and treatment for mucormycosis.