Black Fungus Cases Spotted In Nepal; Here's All You Need To Know About 'Kalo Dhusi'
While Nepal was busy fighting off the Covid-19 pandemic, a new disease managed to sneak past its boundaries — Black Fungus. Last week, the Ministry of Health and Population reported that around 10 cases of Black Fungus have been reported across various hospitals in Kathmandu, Birgunj, and Nepalgunj. The deadly disease has already been declared an epidemic in India, where more than 12,000 people have been infected.
The rise of Covid cases alongside Black Fungus is definitely a cause for concern. So, here is all you need to know about the Black Fungus.
What Is Black Fungus?
Medically, the infection has been termed Mucormycosis but in layman Nepali terms, it is simply referred to as ‘kalo dhusi’. How dangerous is it? Well, although it’s a very rare infection, it is a serious one with a staggering 54% mortality rate.
Thousands In India Infected By Rare 'Black Fungus' With 50% Mortality Rate https://t.co/YDQ8BoLRCt— NPR World (@nprworld) May 28, 2021
The infection is caused by a group of fungi called ‘Mucormycetes’. The fungi is found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. Once the fungi reaches inside the body, it starts attacking your eyes, nose, lungs, and even the brain.
How Does It Spread?
While we do inhale plenty of fungi pores every day, our immune system generally keeps them from affecting us. But Mucormycetes is an opportunist group of fungi, meaning they generally infect people with a weak immune system and tissues.
BLACK FUNGUS— Bombshell DAILY 💣 (@BombshellDAILY) May 17, 2021
The invasive infection, known as mucormycosis, is transmitted when people inhale fungal spores that then get lodged in the sinuses.https://t.co/XBQ8XeYWFO
Typically, a person is infected when they inhale fungal spores, swallow fungal spores or when their open wounds come in contact with the spores. While the disease has an extremely low contagion rate, it’s not entirely non-communicable.
What Are Its Symptoms?
The symptoms differ depending on how the infection was contracted and where the fungus is growing. Here's how it works:
Why Is It Suddenly On A Surge?
The disease has mostly infected patients who recently recovered from Covid. Black Fungus isn’t a new disease and has existed long before Covid-19. But, the introduction of coronavirus has created favorable conditions for Black Fungus to infect its already weakened host.
SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 treatment make the immune system vulnerable to other infections, including black fungus. https://t.co/Xk5Cq0qCGS— Medical News Today (@mnt) May 31, 2021
Diabetic Covid patients with low oxygen saturation levels are prescribed steroids to reduce mortality rates. The same drug that saves a patient’s life from Covid, also makes them more vulnerable to the Black Fungus.
Since the disease is known to attack demography with a compromised immune system, people with diabetes, patients on steroids, and recently recovered Covid-19 patients need to adopt extra care. Make sure you wear a mask outside, especially in areas with a high level of dust pollution. Moreover, experts recommend wearing gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and trousers while handling soil, manure, or moss.