What is green fungus?
Dr Ravi Dosi, Head of the Department of Chest Diseases at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) in Indore, said that the disease is an Aspergillosis infection and more research was needed on the fungus that caused it. Dr Dosi said that the infection was only seen as a "junior partner" in other cases previously.
Green fungus or Aspergillosis is a rare infection caused by commonly found species of fungi known as Aspergillus. It is found both indoors and outdoors, and most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day.
Aspergillosis joins the growing list of colour-coded fungal diseases that have been emerging in COVID-19 patients and survivors. Cases of black fungus (mucormycosis), white fungus (candida) and yellow fungus (aspergillosis) have been seen in the country in rising numbers. While the fungal infections have been named for different colours, they are often being caused by the same species of fungi.
AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria has recently said, "There are various types of fungal infections such as candida, aspergillosis, cryptococcus, histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis. Mucormycosis, candida and aspergillosis are the ones observed more in those with low immunity.
What causes green fungus?
Aspergillosis can happen from simply breathing microscopic spores of the aspergillus fungus. While in normal circumstances, the body's immune system suppresses the growth of any spores within the body, in certain cases the body is not able to suppress the growth of the spores. Those with compromised immune systems and those recovering or suffering from lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing aspergillosis.
The cause of the rising number of fungal infections in COVID-19 patients has been attributed to various factors, including lung damage, overuse of steroids, weakened immune system, and lowered infection control in overworked hospitals.
Fungal diseases are not communicable — they cannot spread from one human to another or between people and animals.
What are the common symptoms of green fungus?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, invasive aspergillosis infections can have the following symptoms:
The CDC advises that patients who have recently suffered from a lung disease, like COVID-19, or have currently weakened immune systems should protect themselves by avoiding dust, soil and other small particulate matter from entering their lungs by avoiding such areas and using N95 respirator masks.
How to prevent fungal infections