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Black Fungus: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What Is Black Fungus Or Mucormycosis

In this blog we will learn about black fungus, what are the symptoms of black fungus infection, its causes and how black fungus treatment is done. But let us first understand what is fungus.

Fungi are a group of living organisms that are not plants, animals, virus or bacteria. They are however similar to plant and animals at molecular level in having a complex cellular system. There are four different families of fungi. Mucormycosis or black fungus infection is caused by Mucoraceae family of fungi.

Fungi plays a vital role in production of many household and industrial products, like making of bread, wine, beer, and certain cheeses.

black fungus under microscope

Cause Of Black Fungus Infection or Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis is caused when humans comes in contact with mucor molds. These fungi molds are commonly found damp habitats like in:

  • Leaves
  • Moist soil
  • Rotting wood pieces
  • Compost

The most common way of contracting this infection is by inhalation of spores of this fungi. Once inside the body, infection can develop in:

  • Lungs/Sinuses
  • Eyes (periorbital area)
  • Face

This fungus can also infect your skin if the spores get inside via open skin wounds.

One important aspect of getting this infection is, not everyone exposed will develop the disease or infection. People who are at increased risk of developing this infection are those with weakened immune system. Individuals with increased risk are:

  • Diabetic patients
  • Post COVID 19 infection
  • Inappropriate use of steroids during treatment of any other illness.
  • People on immunosupressive medication
  • Cancer patients
  • Patients with recent organ transplant

Symptoms Of Black Fungus Infection

Symptoms of black fungus infection or mucormycosis are mainly divided into two groups:

Respiratory Symptoms of of Black Fungus/Mucormycosis

  • Frontal sinus pain which is felt in between the eyes
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Fever
  • Cough

Skin Related Symptoms of Black Fungus/Mucormycosis

  • Blackish discoloration
  • Tenderness on touch
  • Blistering/Ulceration
  • Swelling on skin
  • Redness

Treatment Of Black Fungus Infection or Mucormycosis

  • Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is the key to successful recovery. It is important so as to avoid permanent damage to the tissue. Often the patient has suffered significant tissue damage that cannot be reversed due to late presentation and delay in making diagnosis.
  • Most patients will require both surgical and medical treatments.
  • In most cases without aggressive surgical debridement of the infected area, the infection can be fatal.
  • Medicines play an important role in controlling the spread of infection and also to deal with other medical comorbidities.
    • Amphotericin B (initially intravenous) is the usual drug of choice for the treatment of black fungus infection.
    • In addition, posaconazole or isavuconazole may treat mucormycosis

Once the infection is controlled patient is switched over from IV medications to Oral medications.

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