Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday advised people on the early detection and management of Mucormycosis - commonly known as Black Fungus, a rare but serious condition that has been reported in a number of coronavirus patients, especially in Maharashtra.
"Awareness and early diagnosis can help curb the spread of the fungal infection," the minister said as he shared four slides on the fungus, symptoms and required action once someone contracts the infection.
Here are the frequently asked questions on the disease that were addressed by the minister:
What is Mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection mainly affecting people with medical health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens.
How can a patient contract the infection?
People having co-morbities, variconazole therapy, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids or prolonged ICU stay can get predisposed to the fungal infection.
What are possible symptoms of Mucormycosis?
Pain or redness around the eyes, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomit and altered mental status are possible symptoms of the infection, the minister added
"Don't consider all cases of blocked nose as cases of bacterial sinusitis, especially in the cases of immunosuppression and/ or COVID-19 patients on immunomodulators," the minister advised in his tweet.
Mucormycosis has become a talked about subject after a few recovering and recovered COVID-19 patients were found infected with the fungus.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said there could be over 2,000 such cases in the state as of now, and with more and more COVID-19 cases coming up "their number would increase for sure".
As many as 111 patients, all COVID-19 survivors, are undergoing treatment for mucormycosis in hospitals in state capital Mumbai, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). A 44-year-old man in Mumbai lost his eyesight due to the fungal infection.
The state has now decided to create a separate database of cases of mucormycosis to assess its actual spread and how to tackle it, news agency Press Trust of India reported quoting officials.