Pakistan has reported cases of mucormycosis, also known as ‘black fungus’ among coronavirus patients.
Mucormycosis is a deadly fungal infection found in some serious Covid-19 patients with diabetes and prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay.
Infectious diseases specialists said that many health centres were not reporting the black fungus cases as it is very hard to identify and diagnose this lethal infection.
They said that it is also found in other patients having weak immune system due to prolonged illness and ICU stay, adding that the black fungus affects the brain and lungs.
“We have seen at least five cases of Mucormycosis in serious Covid-19 patients under treatment at the ICU,” a physician dealing with coronavirus patients at a tertiary-care hospital in Karachi told a local publication.
Four patients died due to the complications caused by the black fungus, he added.
He claimed that two more centres have also reported mucormycosis cases among Covid-19 patients.
He further disclosed that black fungus cases have been reported in three hospitals in Pakistan.
The mortality rate of patients with black fungus is above 50 percent, he added.
“This fungus affects people on medications that weaken their immune system and reduce their ability to fight pathogens,” one of the experts said.
Coronavirus patients already have low immunity and they are also given steroids so they become an easy target of the fungus, he added.
According to him, it is a rare but dangerous fungal infection caused by a group of moulds known as micromycetes, which occurs naturally in the environment.
The fungus was observed more in India and Pakistan due to hot and humid climate. “It is the same fungus that grows on bread,” he said.
“The mucormycosis and other moulds including, CAPA are also being seen among Covid-19 patients, which is Covid-19 Associated Pulmonary Aspergillosis,” cause serious complications,” he said.
The spores of the fungus enter through inhalation and affect the sinuses and lungs. They can also enter through a cut or wound and infect the skin.