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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

All you need to know about this rare fungus: Aspergillus Osteomyelitis


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Following Mucor mycosis popularly known as ‘Black Fungus’ during the deadly second wave, a new fungus infection has been detected in 4 coronavirus patients in Pune so far.

Experts term it as ‘aspergillus osteomyelitis’ which is a rare type of fungi detected in the mouth and most rarely in the lungs. This fungus is assumed to be similar to spinal tuberculosis. The reports came in as 4 patients recovered from the Chinese virus complaining about severe back pain and high temperature. On consulting doctors, it was known that the symptoms pointed out to be osteomyelitis. The very first case of such was reported in a 66-year man who complained about severe backache and was treated upon muscular movements at first by the experts and an MRI report then revealed the truth about the deteriorating condition. Steroids and painkillers were the first aids given to cure the patients which later came to be diagnosed as aspergillus osteomyelitis. The MRI reports revealed spondylodiscitis which is the spinal disc-spaces. Being extremely complicated to detect this aspergillus osteomyelitis is a rare fungal infection that mimics spinal tuberculosis (TB).

As per an infection expert of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital of Pune, Dr. Parikshit Prayag, they have been treating 4 patients with vertebral osteomyelitis in the past 3 months. There had been no cases until then in India relating to such fungus infection. He further confirmed that the patients with such ailment had a history of severe pneumonia post covid infection and thus were facilitated with a huge number of steroids to deal with the complications. Among which Corticosteroids are proved to be more dangerous when used in huge lots to treat the patients as it can buoy the chances of this rare fungus in the human body.

What is Aspergillus Osteomyelitis?

This is a rare fungus seen in the human body which bouts spinal tuberculosis (TB). As it impacts the spinal disc spaces, it becomes extremely knotty to diagnose it and affects the ones with ease having a weak immune system. This fungus usually inflames the bones of legs, arms, spine, and cerebral which only gets treated with surgery.

This fungus looks at no age and impacts adults and children as well. However, the area of infection defers according to the age groups as vertebrae and pelvis zone is been caught in adults and adjacent ends of long bones in children. If left untreated it can lead to bone tissue death overtime. The rarest one shares a history of catching 2 over every 10,000 people. The chronic infection will stop the blood flow to the affected bone leading to the eventual death of the bone tissue. The infection is not prone to any specific gender or race, nonetheless, it is more likely to affect patients with

  1. Diabetes
  2. Patients receiving hemodialysis
  3. People with the weakened immune system
  4. Sickle cell diseases
  5. Intravenous drug abusers
  6. The elderly

The causes most likely noted in such patients are a variety of microbial agents and situations like

  1. An open injury of the bone or fracture with the bone ends coming out through the skin
  2. Bacteria present in the bloodstream which is deposited in a focal area of the bone
  3. A chronic open wound or soft tissue infection leading to severe bone infection
  4. A blood clot around the bone followed by bacterial infection

The symptoms noted in this situation are

  1. Acute pain in the infected area
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth in an infected area
  1. High fever
  2. Nausea
  • Uneasiness, discomfort, or ill feeling
  1. Drainage of pus (thick yellow fluid) through the infected area of the skin.
  • Excessive sweating
  1. Chills
  2. Lower back pain (acute) including spine
  3. Loss of motion of joints
  4. Swelling of legs, ankles, and feet
  5. Loss of strength and changes in gait in children
  6. Walking pattern feeling painful

The rare fungus can be caught in nerves by Radiographs (X-Rays), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Blood tests inclusive of CBC (Complete Blood Count), Blood culture, Needle aspiration, Biopsy, and Bone scan.

As India gears up the vaccination drive for the Coronavirus and sets new records with each passing day, it still needs to deal with all the secondary ailments recorded in patients who had been recovered from the deadly virus and make India a complete ailment free nation!

[author title=”Shreya Gohel” image=”http://localhost/gc2/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210127_014031.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle

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