Recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of mucormycosis cases in India, especially in the case of COVID-19 patients. While the central government has asked the states to notify black fungus or 'mucormycosis' as an epidemic, the infection called 'white fungus', also known as 'candidiasis' has also taken its turn by affecting a number of people in the country.
As of now, new cases of white fungus have been found in Patna and Bihar. In totality, there are 4 cases as of now. "This infection is said to be more dangerous than the black fungus," said Dr Arunesh Kumar, senior consultant & head of respiratory in medicine, reported The Indian Express.
Causes of White Fungus
This infection is particularly caused due to the low immunity in individuals. In addition to this, it is also possible to get this infection if people encounter things that contain moulds or fungus. Hence, sanitation becomes extremely important in such a situation. Unsanitary use of oxygen cylinders or the overuse of steroids can increase the risk of contracting the infection.
As told by Dr Arunesh, patients with white fungus show COVID-19 like symptoms. Nevertheless, they test negative. The infection can also be diagnosed through a CT- Scan or X-Ray. Apart from its effect on the lungs, the white fungus can affect other parts of the body including the nails, skin, stomach, kidney, brain, reproductive organs, and mouth as well. However, the infection is not contagious in most cases and it cannot spread directly from person to person.
COVID-19 patients and White Fungus
According to the doctor, COVID-19 patients are more prone to white fungus particularly because it affects the lungs.
"Those who have weak immunity like diabetes, cancer patients, and those who are taking steroids for a long period of time must take special care as they are more at risk. It is also affecting those coronavirus patients who are on oxygen support," said Dr Arunesh.
White Fungus v/s Black Fungus
Fungal infections aren't rare and have also happened in several countries around the world. Black Fungus tends to happen when one inhales the air that has 'mucromycetes' present in it. It then tends to spread to the sinus cavities, lungs and chest cavities.
In the case of black fungus, patients with comorbidities or those who take medications to fight environmental pathogens are likely to get the infection. However, the white fungus is more hygiene-related. Also, swelling of the face, forehead, cheeks and face, which is a significant feature of the black fungus, isn't found in a person who has a white fungal infection. Nevertheless, white and black fungus do share a few common symptoms like infection in the lungs. Although the black fungus is lethal, what makes white fungus extremely dangerous is its capacity to spread to important regions of the body.
In addition to this, white fungus infection may be risky for pregnant women and children. Hence, proper sanitization and clean supplies must be used by the patients. It is also important to use boiled or purified water for drinking. The use of unfiltered tap water can make individuals susceptible to the virus.
As per a report of The Times of India, most patients who are diagnosed with white fungus are recovering well with antifungal medication. Hence, as of now, the only known treatment for white fungus is antifungal medicines. Nevertheless, due to the shortage of medicines, it is important to get tested earlier so that the infection can be dealt with easily.