Odisha Reports First Case of ‘Black Fungus’

Odisha has reported its first case of Mucormycosis or commonly known as the ‘black fungus’. It has affected a 71-year-old COVID patient who has a known history of uncontrolled diabetes, the officials said. The patient is a resident of the Jajpur district and is currently admitted to a leading private hospital in the state capital.

Dr CBK Mohanty, the Director of Medical Education and Training, confirmed that the patient is on anti-diabetic and antifungal treatment.

Mucormycosis is a serious fungal infection that is found among people with low levels of immunity as well as those suffering from chronic diabetes or those who have gone through a kidney transplant among others.

“The patient is an uncontrolled diabetic and had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 20. He was in home isolation after testing positive and had reported swelling in eyes and blackish discharge from the nose on May 8”, Mohanty said in a report prepared by him jointly with the Director of Public Health.

As per the report, the patient has contracted mucormycosis or black fungus from old water in an air cooler and the fungus growth in the damp pad. The infection started during home isolation and not in the hospital.

Although a rare occurrence in persons with normal immunity, conditions like HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, Mellitus cancers, organ transplant, long-term corticosteroid, and immunosuppressive therapy increase the risk of this disease.

Steroids, medicines like Tocilizumab and Itolizumab are used to reduce inflammation in the lungs of COVID-19 patients but they also reduce the immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients, which could lead to the growth of this fungus.

The cases of COVID-induced black fungus are on the rise nationwide among COVID-19 survivors. States like Gujarat and Maharashtra are dealing with an alarming number of such infections. At least eight COVID-19 survivors have succumbed to this fungal infection in Gujarat.

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