‘Mucormycosis’, recently well known as the Black Fungus and very rare infection, has been the centre of attraction in the last few weeks.
Mucormycosis, previously called Zygomycosis, refers to several different diseases caused by infection with fungi, in order Mucorales.
Rhizopus species are the most common causative organisms.
It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure and decaying fruits and vegetables.
It is ubiquitous and found in soil and air and even in the nose and mucus of healthy people.
Doctors believe Mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50-85 percent, maybe being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Steroids lead to a drop in immunity, which indeed leads to triggering these cases of Mucormycosis.
Based on anatomic localization, Mucormycosis can be classified into 6 forms:
The major route of infection is via inhalation of Conidia; other routes include ingestion and traumatic inoculation.
When spores are deposited in the nasal turbinates, rhino cerebral disease develops. When spores inhaled into the lungs it becomes a pulmonary disease.
When ingested, ‘GI’ diseases ensue.
When the agents are introduced through interrupted skin, the cutaneous disease develops.
Warning signs and symptoms:
When to suspect?
In COVID-19 patients, diabetics or immunosuppressed individuals
How to manage?
—Dr Sanket Jain is a Consultant Pulmonologist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai.
First Published: IST