Black fungus detected in COVID-19 patients across Pakistan

The Nation  |  May 12, 2021

Recently, cases of several Mucormycosis, also known as ‘black fungus’ has been detected amongst COVID-19 patients in Pakistan. 

Mucormycosis is a dangerous fungal infection which is detected in some COVID-19 patients. Patients who undergo a prolonged stay at the intensive care unit (ICU) or those who have  uncontrolled diabetes are at a greater risk for black fungus. 

It is pertinent to note that black fungus can be present in non-COVID patients as well, but who have similar history of uncontrolled diabetes or a prolonged stay at ICUs, elaborated the infectious disease specialists. The black fungus severely affects the lungs and brain.

“This fungal infection mainly affects people on medications that weaken their immune system and reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens," one of the specialists of  the infectious disease said.

It is to note that as COVID-19 patients are already a victim of compromised immunity, they are more vulnerable to black fungus. The use of steroids add more to the risk. 

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Mucormycosis was witnessed more in India and Pakistan because of their hot climate. 

The traces of fungus generally enters through inhalation, affecting the lungs. They may also enter through an open wound and infect the skin, added the medical expert. 

“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.

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