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HP to remain watchful for Black Fungus: Health Department

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has told the people to remain watchful for mucormycosis – Black fungus.

The first such case has been reported at the IGMC, Shimla and the patient belongs to Khaggel village of the Hamirpur district.

The patient was first admitted to the Medical College, Hamirpur and from there shifted to Ner chowk Medical College in Mandi. However, later on she was shifted to the IGMC Shimla where she was under treatment, according to Dr. Janak Raj, the MS of the hospital.

It has been observed that mucormycosis is on the rise in post Covid patients in the country, said a spokesman of the state government in a statement today.

The black fungus infection, also known as mucormycosis, is caused by a fungus called mucormycosis.
It’s caused by a group of molds, called mucormycetes. Individuals are infected after inhaling fungal spores found naturally in India’s environment and soil.

Mucormycosis or black fungus is a complication caused by a fungal infection. People catch mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment. It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or other types of skin trauma.

The black fungus infection, also known as mucormycosis, is caused by a fungus called mucor.
Mucormycosis, a rare but dangerous fungal infection, has now been found to be affecting some corona virus patients.

Signs and symptoms include respiratory symptoms and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and sometimes death.

Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include frequent cleaning of hands using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water; covering the nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing; and avoiding close contact with anyone that has a fever and cough.

The state government spokesman said that as per the evidence based advisory issued by ICMR, it has been informed that uncontrolled diabetes, immune suppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, Comorbidities-post transplant/ malignancy are the predisposing factors for this disease.

The spokesman clarified that the state had already issued advisory regarding the prevention and management of black fungus disease in the hospitals. The DHS and DME have been asked to take stock of adequate antifungal drugs like amphotericin B in their respective institutions.

He also informed that the spores of black fungus are found throughout the environment even in the soil and air. It mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. The symptoms of black fungus include pain and redness around eyes/ or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits.

The Government Spokesperson further informed that for the benefit of the general public, it is advised that the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients should be well controlled and the steroids should not be used indiscriminately for the purpose of COVID treatment.

He also cautioned that we all have been wearing medical/surgical/N95 or cotton masks which are being used multiple times. These masks get wet due to the humidity in our breathing. If these masks are used for multiple days without changing or washing, a perfect atmosphere is created for the growth of fungus. So all citizens are advised to wash the cloth mask daily and dry it in sunlight. These should be ironed before use, after washing or in case of reuse so that no fungus grows on it and the risk of black fungus is mineralized.

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