Two persons, recently recovered from deadly coronavirus infection, have been detected with black fungus or mucormycosis in Dhaka.
They were diagnosed with mucormycosis while undergoing medical tests at BIRDEM General Hospital in the capital in May, the hospital Associate Prof Lovely Baroi confirmed the news to media.
The patients are now receiving treatment at the hospital.
The hospital officials said one person, aged about 45, was diagnosed with the black fungus on May 8 while another one, aged about 60, was on May 23. Both of them have been infected with COVID-19 and recovered from the virus recently. After that, the duo were infected with the mucormycosis.
WHAT IS MUCORMYCOSIS?
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that causes blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.
The disease has a close link to diabetes, and conditions that compromise the immune system. Experts have said that an overuse during the COVID-19 pandemic of certain drugs which suppress the immune system could be causing the surge.
Data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that mucormycosis has a mortality rate of 54 percent, which can vary depending on the condition of the patients and the body part affected.
States across India have reported more than 5,000 cases of the otherwise rare disease in recent weeks, mostly in people infected with COVID-19 or recovering from the disease.
IS IT CONTAGIOUS?
The disease is not contagious, which means that it cannot spread from contact between humans or animals. But it does spread from fungal spores that are present in the air or in the environment, which are almost impossible to avoid.
“Bacteria and fungi are present in our bodies already, but they are kept in check by the body’s immune system,” said K Bhujang Shetty, head of Narayana Nethralaya, an eye hospital. “When the immune system goes down because of cancer treatment, diabetes or use of steroids, then these organisms get an upper hand and they multiply,” said Shetty.