05/13/2021 at 9:23 PM CEST
It is not a new discovery and it did not appear to be an alarming situation or one that caused excessive cases. But the contagions have multiplied and the Indian government has launched an “evidence-based” warning throughout the country.
The objective is that possible precautions are taken against the threat of the “black fungus” and the infection it causes, which is attacking survivors of the coronavirus and has a high mortality.
The advisory says that this infection is especially affecting people who have spent a long time in hospital emergency rooms, and is spreading among patients recovering, or already recovered, from Covid-19.
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A very hard disease
The disease caused by this fungus is known as mucormycosis and, although it is a rare infection, in India the “black fungus” is everywhere and has become a major threat.
It can be found in the soil, in plants, fruit, vegetables, the air and even in the mucus of healthy people.
Taking a look at the leading newspapers in India, we soon discovered a world of shocking images: The faces of patients infected with “black fungus” are faces that the disease has commissioned to disfigure or cause them to be mutilated.
The infection usually begins in the sinuses or lungs and spreads to the bones and other tissues of the body. But in the worst case it attacks the eyes and the brain.
And the current situation is that Indian doctors are diagnosing more cases every day among patients who have been able to overcome the coronavirus.
The director of the “European Excellence Center for Invasive Fungal Infections”, Professor Doctor Oliver Cornely, assures that:
– «Doctors in India report that the number of cases of mucormycosis is increasing dramatically. And although the number of cases is not clear at the moment, it is known that it especially affects patients who have had a Covid infection.
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“The fungus attacks with spores”
As Dr Cornely explains, “When people inhale fungal spores, they spread through the mucous membrane to the bones. And from there it is possible that they continue until they reach the eyes and infect everything: the socket, the muscles and the nerves.
In addition, as the fungus destroys all the tissue in its path, including blood vessels, it is impossible for the drugs to be transported to where they are needed, so surgery becomes the only alternative. And most of the time it involves removing parts of the face.
That is why one of the most common images that illustrate this disease are the disfigured faces of people who have had to remove an eye to save their life. A radical operation, but it is considered essential to eliminate the infected tissue and stop the infection.
Because if the fungus continues, its next station is the brain. And when it happens, the death rate is terrifying. Between 50% and 90%.
The initial symptoms are usually quite common and apparently not very alarming. Red eyes or a red nose.
But from there it goes to some bloody or black mucus, some fever and some difficulty breathing.
If the patient has contracted the skin infection, the mucormycosis may look like blisters or ulcers and the skin may turn black.
If it is reaching the brain it can cause seizures, comprehension difficulties, and coma.
Why the coronavirus patients?
Patients who have passed Covid-19 are an easy target for the black fungus to infect.
They are people who have had a hard time and have a compromised immune system, which means that they are at greater risk because their body cannot fight the infection.
Also, some of them likely had to be treated with a steroid called dexamethasone to reduce the infection.
But this drug, which works to reduce inflammation in the lungs and dampen the body’s immune response, also suppresses the immune response.
Can it happen in Europe?
It cannot be said that the ‘black fungus’ is an exclusive threat to India, but according to the experts consulted it is not likely that this disease will reach Europe.
First, because they are the environmental conditions of India, its temperature, its humidity & mldr; those that make the fungus develop there and the disease can appear.
Second, because it is a country with a very high rate of undiagnosed diabetes, and that puts all those people in danger, since until the coronavirus arrived they were the ideal candidates for contracting mucormycosis.
However, Julie Djordjevic, head of the fungal pathogenesis group at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, declared on ABC American television:
– «I do not think that we will see this disease in other parts of the world, but it is better that we know that this possibility exists if we do not insist on having SARS-CoV-2 under control and do everything possible to stop Covid-19 in all parts of the world.
But unfortunately it is very likely that the spores of the black fungus are already in Europe.
And if so, we better be prudent and endeavor to take care of our common home as well. Because climate change puts us at risk and this reality can be a warning touch.
And without wishing to be negative, let’s not forget that the coronavirus most likely has not said the last word