The alarming rise in black fungus infection cases particularly in COVID patients (mostly recovered ones) in India, some medical experts are of the opinion that “unhygienic masks” and rooms with less ventilation could be a contributing factor, while others opined that “no clinical evidence” has been established so far.
Doctors at many leading hospitals informed that many patients, both COVID and non-COVID ones, have been at the facilities infected with mucormycosis or black fungus and had a history of exhibiting poor hygienic practices that includes wearing unwashed masks for a long time.
According to Dr Suresh Singh Naruka, senior consultant, ENT, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, the primary factor is “use of steroids”.
Second, I would doubt is unhygienic practices, like wearing masks over a long time without washing them, or staying in a poorly ventilated rooms such as a basement, or less airy rooms. So, I would say, the second factor is also a trigger point for contractor mucormycosis,” he said.
Mucormycosis is more common among people whose immunity has been compromised due to COVID, diabetes, kidney disease, liver or cardiac disorders, age-related issues, or those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
“If such patients are administered steroids, their immunity reduces further, allowing the fungus to thrive,” the doctor said, adding, steroids should be administered very judiciously after proper clinical examination by a doctor.
“In many cases, we also found that people who had contracted black fungus had self-medicated themselves on steroids, after their oxygen concentration levels had dropped, making them susceptible to this ailment which is being found more in COVID patients under treatment or recovery than others,” Naruka said.