NEW DELHI: AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria on Monday said fungal infections should be identified with their names rather than their colours and warned that colour coding of the same fungus could be misleading.
Unlike Covid-19, fungal infections are not contagious or infectious, Dr Guleria said during a Union health ministry briefing on Covid-19.
He also said that black fungus is another family, but the term got associated with mucormycosis due to the presence of black dots among the culture of white fungal colonies.
Here’s all that one needs to know about fungal infections.
Types of fungal infections:
Common fungal infections observed in people with lower immunity
This is the most common fungal infection seen at present in Covid patients. 90% to 95% of mucormycosis patients are either diabetic and/or are taking steroids.
Seen very rarely in those who are neither diabetic nor taking steroids.
Types of mucormycosis
Mucormycosis can be categorized depending on which organ of the human body it attacks. Signs and symptoms of the infection also vary depending on the affected body part.
Rhino orbital cerebral Mucormycosis: It infects the nose, orbit of eye / eye socket, oral cavity and can even spread to the brain. Symptoms include headache, nasal congestion, nasal discharge (green colour), pain in sinus, bleeding nose, swelling on face, lack of sensation on face and skin discoloration.
Pulmonary Mucormycosis: This fungal infection affects the lungs. Causes fever, chest pain, cough and coughing of blood.
Mucormycosis in the gastrointestinal tract.
One-sided facial swelling
Nasal or sinus congestion
Rusting or bleeding from the nose
Lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of mouth that quickly become more severe
Lowering of facial sensation
No definite link between mucormycosis and oxygen therapy
According to Dr Guleria, there is no definite link between oxygen therapy and catching the infection. “Many patients taking treatment at home, who were not on oxygen therapy, have also been found to get infected with Mucormycosis, he said.
Candida fungal infection can manifest with symptoms like white patches in the mouth, oral cavities and tongue
It can infect private parts
It can also be found in the blood, in which case it can become serious
It is observed in some people
Aspergillosis is relatively not common
It affects and invades the lungs by creating cavities in it.
It is observed occasionally
Treatment challenges of fungal infections
Anti-fungal treatment goes on for many weeks, so it is proving to be challenging for hospitals.
Covid-positive patients and Covid-negative patients who catch mucormycosis need to be housed in separate hospital wards.
Surgery needs to be done judiciously since aggressive surgery for Mucormycosis can have adverse outcomes for Covid patients.
Maintaining proper hygiene is very important for diabetic patients since chances of opportunistic infection is very high in such patients.
Those using oxygen concentrators should ensure cleaning of humidifiers regularly.
(Based on media briefing by AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria)