India: A look at deadly mucormycosis fungus epidemic
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Horrifying images show how coronavirus patients in India are being struck down in their tens of thousands by Black Fungus. Doctors in India say coronavirus and the treatment being given to treat the disease has led to a surge in the flesh-eating illness which leaves less than 50 percent of those affected alive and in need of body parts removed because of the horrendous damage caused.
The “black fungus” is known as mucormycosis and is usually most dangerous in patients whose immune systems are weakened by infections like coronavirus.
Thousands are known to have died of the disease which is now sweeping India.
Speaking to BBC News, a doctor said: “They (patients) do not fill up the beds for [just] a day or two.
“They are here to stay with us for at least one month, one and half months.”
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He added how patients struck down by the horrifying disease need “one or two surgeries” to combat the spread of the fungus.
And in a sobering moment, he explained how “around 50 percent of patients die” after being infected with the disease.
BBC reporter Lugita Limaye added how Covid and “the steroids used to save patients from it” have made people “vulnerable to the fungus.”
The terrifying fungal disease can lead to blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.
India: Black fungus infection outbreak discussed by doctor
Black fungus is strongly linked to Covid patients with diabetes which can be made worse by the steroids such as dexamethasone, used to treat severe coronavirus cases, which in turn are believed to lead to rising levels of black fungus.
Ms Limaye added: “What many people here have told me is how difficult it was for them to get the specific medicine to treat this infection.
She explained how the Black Fungus drug “used to be a very rare disease so the drug was in short supply” forcing doctors to buy the drug off the black market.
The BBC reporter stressed how an already stretched Indian healthcare system is on its knees following the outbreak in the wake of a horrific second wave of covid that devastated the country.
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Fears are also rising in India of a possible third wave of coronavirus which could push the country to the brink.
Mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus,” is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.
These tend to live in soil and decaying organic matter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a branch of the Indian government, have previously said that doctors treating COVID-19 patients, diabetics and those with weak immune systems should watch out for early symptoms.
These include sinus pain or nasal blockage on one side of the face, one-sided headache, swelling or numbness, toothache and loosening of teeth.
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