Deadly Black Fungus Remains Concern for COVID Patients in India

Posted on 05/10/2021

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued a health advisory on May 9, 2021 regarding a fungal infection seen in some COVID-19 patients which can disfigure facial features and even kill people. Mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) is called the “black fungus” infection. Mucormycosis can damage the sinuses or lungs when the spores are inhaled. Mucormycosis was present in India before the COVID-19 pandemic. For people who have weakened immune systems, breathing in mucormycete spores can cause an infection in the lungs or sinuses which can spread to other parts of the body.

The rare but deadly infection can kill and maim patients, with some COVID sufferers losing their upper jaws and eyes after contracting it, according to Indian media reports. ICMR warned against overuse of steroids, indicating they could worsen the infection. The black fungus can attack through the respiratory tract.

India’s health authorities reported more than 300,000 new virus infections for the past 19 days straight. The COVID-19 variant B.1.617, which was first isolated in India, and is believed to be driving India’s second COVID wave. B.1.617 is the dominant variant in Maharashtra.

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