Since the second wave of COVID-19 in India, things have taken unpredictable turns that have resulted in multiple complications for those who are actively infected, as well as those who have recovered from the virus.
In the last few days, mucormycosis (black fungus) has been the biggest fear. Several states have already declared it an epidemic after an increase in the number of cases related to black fungus. After the black mushroom, two new varieties of mushrooms have emerged as complications in COVID-19 cases, namely the white mushroom and the yellow mushroom.
Dr. Vivek Pravin Dave, consultant ophthalmologist and retinal specialist at the LV Prasad Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, explains, âWhite fungus is rare and people shouldn’t panic. However, it is important to watch out for symptoms and receive timely treatment. “
Dr. Dave explained that white fungus affects the retina in the eye and, if left untreated, can cause vision loss. Black shadows or swimmers in front of the eye with varying degrees of vision loss are some of the symptoms. The eye may be slightly red with minimal pain and may appear either concurrently with the COVID-19 infection or in the early stages of recovery. These symptoms can be seen within one to three months of recovering from COVID-19.
Patients with comorbidities, poorly controlled diabetes, long-term steroids, and indwelling IV are at higher risk. Treatment of the eye includes intraocular surgery and intraocular injections. In contrast to mucormycosis, the effects of the white fungus in the eyeball are known to be limited and no facial and sinus surgery is required.
The most common type of white fungus that causes infection is scientifically known as “Candida Albicans”. It is a type of yeast that lives naturally inside or outside the body. The outgrowth of these can lead to various health complications. While black fungus affects tissues around the eyes, white fungus mainly affects tissues within the eye. Especially the vitreous gel and the retina.
The condition of white fungus infection is life threatening if it spreads throughout the body. Again, this is only possible in severely weakened and immunocompromised patients. Dr. Dave pointed out that there is no data to compare black mushroom to white mushroom as white mushroom cases are very rare at the moment.
Dr. Outlining the causes of fungal infection in coronavirus cases, Dave said that COVID-19 management requires sensible but high steroid use in patients whose lungs are affected. While steroid use helps lessen the harm associated with COVID-19, the counter-effect has a tremendous impact. They suppress the body’s immune mechanisms, making it more susceptible to these types of yeast infections.
“Treatment includes intraocular surgery, eye antifungal injections, and oral antifungal drugs,” he added.
Commenting on fungus, Randeep Guleria (Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences) said, âThere are three types of fungi that are most common – mucormycosis, candida and aspergillosis. Mucormycosis has been found in cases where COVID-19 is compounded with steroids and diabetes. It’s usually seen in sinuses and we call it rhino-orbital cerebral mucormycosis. They are located in the nose, sinuses, and can also get into the brain. Rarely do they occur in the lungs, which is pulmonary mucormycosis, and sometimes in the gastrointestinal tract. “
He also said that it is not a communicable disease. 90-95% of patients have diabetes or steroids. Some cases have also been seen in patients treated at home. Hygiene is important, especially for people with diabetes. General hygiene measures such as regular hand washing, clean oxygen tubing, and the use of sterile water for humidification are important.
What is yellow mushroom
Experts suggest that yellow fungus infection could be a lot more frightening than the other two infections due to the way in which it affects the body’s internal organs.
Unlike the other two infections, the yellow fungus starts internally, causing pus leakage, slow wound healing and, in severe cases, can also cause devastating symptoms such as organ failure and acute necrosis. Therefore, it remains important that patients seek help with their infection as soon as they observe symptoms. The first case of yellow fungus infection was reportedly found in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
According to Guleria, it is important to use the correct name. There are cases when the same fungus can grow in different parts of the body and appear in different colors, causing great confusion.
He also addressed mental health, saying, âThere is a lot of stress and fear in public. Everyone has lost one or the other. We all need to come together to support everyone as a society, as individuals and as people together. “, He added. Children may not be as badly affected as they have had mild infections. However, young adults had collateral damage. We should all come together and address these issues. This will help us support young children and everyone else, he said.