In addition to the rising number of Covid cases, India is dealing with a new epidemic- mucormycosis, a.k.a. black fungus infection. Many cases of this unusual fungal infection have been discovered in Covid 19 patients. Diabetics, people with kidney or heart issues, and people on high steroids are also susceptible to it. When the government was coping with the black fungus outbreak, medical experts have raised concerns about the discovery of a white fungal infection.
White fungus infection is more deadly and lethal than black fungus, according to sources. At least four cases have been found in Patna, Bihar, and several more could be undiagnosed at this time.
What is White Fungus?
Fungi molds called 'mucormycetes' found in the atmosphere cause both white and black fungus infections. While the infection is not contagious, a person is said to be vulnerable to it because these molds are easily inhaled by a patient and can spread to vital organs, causing complications.
Who is at risk from White Fungus?
A white fungus infection, like many pathogens, does the most harm to people who have weak immunity. As a result, a person with poor immunity, or who is already at risk for other comorbidities, or who is taking immunosuppressive drugs, is at a high risk of contracting the white fungal infection.
People with chronic steroid use, such as diabetes, cancer, and other comorbidities, may be at risk of contracting the infection. According to some sources, women and children are at an increased risk of infection, which has never been seen before with black fungus infection.
White fungus, like black fungus, can be transmitted when a person comes into contact with unsanitary surfaces, according to doctors. Patients on extended oxygen support, where water supplies may be polluted, may also be a source of transmission, which is why doctors are seeing an increase in white fungus cases identified among COVID patients in hospitals. The use of unfiltered/tap water in humidifiers/oxygen cylinders, for example, can expose patients to white fungus symptoms.
How does white fungus spread in the body?
The white fungus starts in the tongue or private sections, according to AIIMS professor Dr. Kaushal Verma, and causes the tongue to turn white. It then spreads to other tissues, including the lungs, the brain, and the food pipes.
What are the symptoms of White Fungus?
Many people who have been diagnosed with the white fungus infection have respiratory symptoms that are close to COVID-19, but they have tested negative for the virus in the majority of cases. According to experts, X-rays or chest scans will reliably predict the severity of the disease and how vital organs can be affected.
In certain cases, the disease's symptoms are close to those of a black fungus infection. When the fungus spreads to the lungs, however, more complicated symptoms can appear in those who have a serious infection.
How is White fungus treated?
According to reports, the majority of patients who have been diagnosed with white fungus are being treated with antifungal treatment and are doing well. As a result, fungal drugs are the only known treatment option. However, due to a drug shortage, early identification of cases is important.
Difference between white and black fungus
Both diseases are caused by fungi, but they differ in terms of severity and organs affected. The fungus Mucor causes black fungus, while the candida group of species causes white fungus, also known as candidiasis. Both infections were documented before the Covid epidemic, but the number of cases has risen dramatically since the second Covid wave began.
When one comes into contact with their spores in the air or an infected surface, such as key medical equipment used for Covid treatment including oxygen cylinders, one may become infected by any of these fungal infections.
Is it more dangerous than Black Fungus?
Although black fungus infection is dangerous, white fungus infection is much more dangerous because of the way it spreads and damages vital organs—it may affect the brain, respiratory organs, digestive tract, kidneys, nailbed, and even private parts.
The spread of environmental molds and unsanitary conditions has resulted in an unprecedented rise in black fungus cases, as well as white fungus cases in the latest days. To date, over 8000 cases have been filed in India. However, a new lurking threat has arisen, one that is much scarier than black or white fungus infection: yellow fungus infection.
Owing to the way yellow fungus infection affects the body's internal organs, experts say it is much scarier than the other two diseases. The disease's origin and anatomy are yet to be confirmed by public health officials and the government, but here's what we know so far about it.
What is yellow fungus?
A yellow fungus infection spreads through contaminated conditions or when a suspected patient inhales molds (mycometes) that develop in the soil, similar to other fungal infections.
The manner in which this infection spreads distinguishes it from white and black fungus infections. Although the black fungus infection causes noticeable facial disfigurement, the yellow fungus infection causes symptoms by attacking the body's internal organs and disrupting vital bodily processes.
Who is at risk from Yellow Fungus?
Yellow fungus infections can occur as a primary or secondary infection, depending on your health and risk factors. However, based on what has been observed so far, the risks appear to be exacerbated for those with weakened immunity, frail health, or who have pre-existing conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or high cholesterol, all of which trigger inflammation. An increase in fungal infections has been identified among those who have been prescribed steroid use or who have been on extended oxygen support.
What are the symptoms of Yellow Fungus?
Internally, it causes pus leakage, slows wound healing, causes organ failure, and, in some cases, acute necrosis. Patients may feel lethargy at the start of the infection as it spreads internally, affecting organs and draining energy. Patients can lose their appetite or develop bad eating habits. This may lead to unusual weight loss and a slowed metabolism. The patient's eyes may be affected by Yellow Fungus in some cases. Redness and sunken eyes should be watched out for.
How is Yellow Fungus treated?
Amphotericin B injection, a broad-spectrum antifungal drug, is the only therapy for yellow fungus.
Is it more dangerous than White and Black Fungus?
One of the reasons why a yellow fungus infection behaves differently than a white or black fungus infection, according to what has been observed so far, is the way it spreads. Since it spreads internally, it has the potential to inflict significant internal harm, making it ‘more severe’ in nature.
For the same cause, people have been urged to seek help as soon as possible to avoid the situation being more difficult.
How can you protect yourself?
Fungal infections thrive when immunity is compromised. People with uncontrolled diabetes or a family history of diabetes should be extra cautious about keeping their blood sugar levels in check.
In the case of COVID-19 patients, careful disinfection is essential since one cause of the spread of these dangerous molds are unsanitary conditions.
Those that use oxygen therapy should make sure it is well-filtered and not polluted (such as with unclean water). Steroids and associated drugs should not be used indiscriminately.
Furthermore, doctors and specialists advise that any at-risk patient avoid unnecessary exposure to the risk, wear proper masks, and maintain personal hygiene. Wearing clothes that don't expose your skin to potentially polluted surfaces will help you protect yourself even more.