New Delhi: AIIMS director Randeep Guleria on Monday advised mucormycosis should be identified by its name rather than by the colour as labelling the same fungus with names of different colours can create confusion.
"Naming the same fungus based on its colours, depending on the area of infection, creates confusion," he said.
He said that it is better not to use the term 'black fungus' while talking of mucormycosis, as it leads to a lot of avoidable confusion.
Dr Guleria clarified that the Black fungus belongs to another family and the term got associated with mucormycosis due to the presence of black dots among the culture of white fungal colonies.
Among the various types of fungal infections, Mucormycosis, candida and aspergillosis are the ones observed more in those with low immunity," he told during a government COVID briefing.
Speaking about the prevalence of these infections, he noted, Candida fungal infection can manifest with symptoms such as white patches in the mouth, oral cavities and tongue. It can infect private parts and can also be found in the blood (in which case it can become serious).
"Fungal infection observed in Covid-19 patients is mostly mucormycosis. While the number of cases is increasing, it is not contagious or infectious like Covid," he said.
Guleria also clarified that there is "no definite link between oxygen therapy and catching the infection as 90 to 95 per cent of mucormycosis patients are either diabetic and/or taking steroids".
"This infection is seen very rarely in those who are neither diabetic nor taking steroids," he said.
He said that some of the common symptoms of mucormycosis are one-sided facial swelling, headaches, nasal or sinus congestion, black lesions on the nasal bridge or upper inside of the mouth that quickly become more severe, and fever.
The AIIMS director said anti-fungal treatment goes on for many weeks, so it is proving to be challenging for hospitals since Covid-positive patients and Covid-negative patients who catch mucormycosis need to be housed in separate hospital wards. Surgery also needs to be done judiciously since aggressive surgery for mucormycosis can have adverse outcomes for Covid patients.
Maintaining proper hygiene is very important for diabetic patients since chances of opportunistic infection is very high in such patients, he said, adding that those using oxygen concentrators should ensure the cleaning of humidifiers regularly.