In India, there are record-breaking Covid cases; doctors see cases of another deadly infection known as Black Fungus. Technically the infection is called mucormycosis, and it is mainly seen in diabetic patients who have recovered from Covid. It is a rare but serious fungal infection in the sinuses and lungs.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it can lead to one-sided facial swelling, blurred or double vision, and black patches on the nose. It’s acquired through contact with fungal spores found in manure, plants, and soil. According to Endocrinologists, black fungus is not new; the Covid has created the perfect storm.
Diabetic people have slightly dampened immune systems which they already have an elevated risk of contracting black fungus. People with diabetes are worst affected by Covid, which increases that risk even more. Steroids are medicine used for Covid cure for critically ill patients, which can dampen the immune system. Not many cases are reported from other countries. Dr. Deena Adimoolam, a specialist in endocrinology and disease prevention, said all people with diabetes should take precautions to protect themselves from infections right now.
Black fungus has been rare historically, affecting 900,000 people per year. In a year, it is less than 1% population, according to a study published in 2017. Each year only 10,000 people outside of India are affected, the same study found out. For black fungus, the U.S. does not have any national surveillance system in place. The CDC’s rates are based on a study in 1998 that there are 1.7 cases per one million people.
Covid and Steroids increase the risk of black fungus for people with diabetes –
Diabetic people are generally slightly immunocompromised because elevated blood sugar impairs the immune system. If diabetic people get any infection, then they find trouble in fighting the infection, according to Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite, an endocrinologist at Rush University Medical Center. High blood sugar levels can be seen in diabetic people, in which environment fungus thrives on. Fungus feeds on sugar and becomes stronger than the immune system trying to fight it off, said Rasa. Steroids used for fighting covid severe cases may also reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. It surpasses the body’s immune system.
Black fungus risk is high in India –
India has the 2nd highest diabetic population in the world, according to International Diabetic Foundation Atlas, which amounts to 70.2 million people. That is the reason the risk is high in India.