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Cases of 'White fungus' cause concern among health experts

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Cases of White fungus cause concern among health experts
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New Delhi: As alarmingly rising cases of the Black Fungus (Mucormycosis disease) are getting reported in the country, th cases of White Fungus reported in Bihar is raising huge conern for health experts in India.

White Fungus generally seen in immuno-compromised people like those on chemotherapy or undergoing bone marrow transplant was reported in Covid-recovered patient from Mau district in Uttar Pradesh.

"White Fungus usually referred as to infection from Candidiasis. It is usually seen as an opportunistic infection among immunocompromised host such as patients with HIV, on anti-cancer therapy, on long-term steroid use or severe uncontrolled diabetes," said Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi.

According to Pratibha Dogra, senior pulmonologist from W Pratiksha Hospital in Gurugram, first signs or symptoms could be severe headache and pain in the sinus area, blackish growth or discharge from nose.

"Diagnosis is simple through routine microscopic sample of mucor growth. If not diagnosed early, it has mortality of over 50 per cent," she said.

As white Fungus may affect not just Covid patients, any patient with a significant impairment of immunity is at risk.

"The increased incidents of multi-drug resistant, lethal Candida infections (even in the immunocompetent) had become a growing challenge in healthcare even prior to the Covid pandemic," said Ranjit Mohan, Consultant -Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Manipal Hospitals.

"The use of steroids cause immune suppression as well as elevation in blood sugar levels, creating a favourable condition for fungal growth. Hence Prolonged intravenous steroid therapy increases the chances of fungal infections," Mohan added.

This condition is most frequently encountered among diabetics and among the elderly.

"Also, a great incidence is noted when Covid 19 infections occur in patients with pre-existing immune deficiencies," Mohan said.

Treatment for White Fungus is Amphotericin B and Voriconazole while Echinocandins and posaconazole medicines can also be used.

"Better immunity, good glycemic control, rational steroid use and maintaining personal hygiene and adequate indoor ventilation are keys to prevent this disease," Salve told IANS.

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