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Mucormycosis or ‘Black Fungus’ - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By Juhi Walia
26 August 2022, 3:21 PM

Mucormyosis is a type of infection commonly observed among COVID-19 patients. Also called Black Fungus, it tends to manifest in the skin and also affects the lungs and brain. Over the past two years or so, we have been dealing with the pandemic of COVID-19. The lethal virus that has disrupted the world's usual way of life for almost two years is just as terrifying today as it was when it first appeared in 2019. Even after all this time, the whole picture of the virus's risk and effects is still not fully understood. Let's understand the effects and take health insurance too to remain safe financially.

Numerous people continue to test positive for COVID every day in India. Though the severity for those testing positive has reduced considerably, the health of those recovering from the virus is still compromised as it takes a toll on the immune system. Owing to insufficient media coverage, many people are unaware of the post-COVID hazards that exist today. Beginning with hair loss, skin conditions, and the physical weakness brought on by an immune system failure, the entire recovery from COVID-19's complex side effects can take up to nine months. Mucormyosis is one such after-effect of the post-COVID recovery process.

What Exactly is Mucormycosis or Black Fungus?

It is a very uncommon fungal infection brought on by a class of moulds known as Mucormycetes. Mucormycetes are found in the environment and can enter the body through artificial oxygen support given to COVID-19 patients who require it or, in certain circumstances, through other environmental variables, such as using polluted water to create medical oxygen. One notable cause of COVID survivors complaining of Black Fungus has also come to light: the use of specific combinations of steroids for treating COVID patients. Patients with weak immune systems or have medical conditions including diabetes, cancer or HIV are more likely to be infected with the same.

Which Part of the Body does the Black Fungus Attack?

Mucormycetes directly assault the sinus cavities, chest cavities, and lungs after entering the body by the nose, mouth, or eyes. If the infection is not treated timely, it may become fatal and result in brain damage, thereby leading to the victim's death. A point of entrance for moulds into the body is provided by the unhygienic method of oxygen delivery to the patients. Contrary to coronavirus, the infection is not communicable and does not transfer from one person to another.

What are the Commonly Observed Symptoms of Mucormycosis?

Warning indications are pain and redness around the eyes or nose, a fever, headache, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, and changed mental status. Thrombosis, necrosis, skin lesions, chest pain, pleural effusion, and worsening respiratory symptoms are all signs of sinusitis. Other symptoms include localised pain on the cheekbone, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling, blackish discoloration over the bridge of the nose or palate, loosening of the teeth, jaw involvement, blurred or double vision with pain, and blackish discoloration over the nose or palate.

What are the Suggested Treatment Options?

An all-encompassing treatment is needed to manage the Black Fungus sickness. Initiating antifungal treatment, removing necrotic tissues, addressing underlying predisposing variables, and adjuvant therapy are all included. The strategies for treating Black Fungus illness are as follows:

  • Antifungal Drugs: The doctor may recommend various antifungal drugs. Liposomal amphotericin B, isavuconazole, and posaconazole are a few of them.
  • Surgical Debridement: According to many infection specialists, the contaminated component needs to be surgically removed to save the patient's life. It aids in stopping the progression of the disease. The patient can get plastic surgery if the treatment is successful.

The task force's experts have emphasised the importance of managing hyperglycemia and monitoring blood glucose levels in both people with diabetes and those who have just finished receiving Covid-19 treatment. Steroids should only be used sparingly; timing, dosage, and duration should be considered.

Preventive Measures

  • When you are in locations with a lot of mud and dust, always wear a face mask.
  • Avoid visiting construction and excavation areas.
  • Activities like gardening and yard labour that require contact with compost piles, soil, and dust should be avoided by people with compromised immune systems.
  • Avoid contaminated water, and restore your home's water-damaged regions.

Is Mucormycosis Covered Under a Regular Health Insurance Plan?

Yes, your current health insurance plan pays for the costs associated with treating mucormycosis following a 30-day waiting period. In some areas like Maharashtra, the infection is already covered by the government's health insurance programmes, namely the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) and the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (MJPJAY). However, you can ask your insurer if it covers the same and the waiting period before you can receive treatment.


Even though COVID-19 and recovering patients have been the main targets of Black Fungus instances, anyone with a weakened immune system can contract the fungus. Even those who have never had COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19 can contract the disease. A compromised immune system and pre-existing medical issues make someone susceptible.

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1. How serious is Mocormycosis?

It can result in blood clots, lasting nerve damage, and eye damage if it is not identified and treated promptly.  According to the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), it is lethal and has a high mortality rate of 54%.

2. Can Black Fungus be treated at home?

The antifungal pills needed to treat the illness must be obtained with a doctor's prescription and cannot be picked up off the shelf at a pharmacy. Surgery cannot be performed at home either.

3. Will the virus be detected in a blood test?

No, the Black Fungus virus cannot be detected in a blood-test. The doctor will either take a sample of your nose fluid or perform some imaging tests to diagnose.

4. How does the Black Fungus manifest itself?

When the fungus enters the skin through a cut, burn, or any other forms of skin disorders, one may contract mucormycosis. The Black Fungus adheres to an organ and enters the body through the sinuses, lungs, or nose. The eyes and the brain can be affected by the fungus if it enters the sinus.

5. Why is the Black Fungus attacking COVID-19 patients?

Patients with Covid-19 have damaged blood vessels, airway mucosa, and serum iron levels, which create an ideal setting for the growth of Black Fungus. Furthermore, they receive steroids, which raise blood sugar levels and lowers immunity due to prolonged ventilation. All these elements contribute to the fungus's ability to flourish and infect the patient.

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