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White Fungus Disease: Infection, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 22, May 2021, 21:08 pm IST | UPDATED: 23, May 2021, 13:08 pm IST

White Fungus Disease: Infection, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Both white and black fungus infections are caused by fungi moulds, called 'mucormycetes' present in the environment. While the disease isn't contagious, a person is said to be vulnerable to the infection since these moulds can be easily inhaled by a patient, which can further spread to vital organs and cause complications.

It is important to note that any immunocompromised person can contract the infection if they come in contact with any surface that contains these moulds, such as water and other unsanitary environments

As with many infections, a white fungus infection causes most damage to a person who has a low immune threshold. Thus, a person with low-immunity, or already at risk of other comorbidities, or using immuno-suppressant medications has a high risk of catching the white fungal infection.

People suffering from conditions like diabetes, cancer and other comorbidities, which require continuous steroid usage could also face the risk of catching the infection.

Black Fungus Vs White Fungus:

WHITE FUNGUS

According to experts, the white fungus infections are more dangerous than black fungus due to its acute affect on lungs and other body parts. White fungus becomes more lethal because of the way it spreads and causes great damage to the vital organs. It may impact brain, respiratory organs, digestive tract, kidneys, nailbed or even private parts.

BLACK FUNGUS

As cases of blacks fungus, mucormycosis, raise concerns across the country, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria clarified that the fungal infection is not new, but the cases have increased with COVID-19. Guleria said the ‘misuse’ of steroids is one of the major causes behind black fungus cases.

“This disease (Mucormycosis) can affect the face, infecting nose, orbit of eye, or brain, which can cause even vision loss. It can also spread to the lung," Guleria said, adding that people should follow protocols of infection control practices at hospitals. “It is been seen that secondary infections, fungal & bacterial, are causing more mortality," Guleria added.

WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED BY WHITE FUNGUS?

According to a report by indianexpress.com, the white fungus is more likely to infect people with low immunity. It can also be caused if people come in contact with water or unsanitary environment containing the moulds. The disease isn’t contagious but a person is said to be vulnerable to the infection since these moulds can be easily inhaled by a patient. The fungus can further spread to vital organs and cause complications.

People with low immunity, commorbidities, diabetes, cancer or those using steroids regularly are at a higher risk of getting infected with the white fungus.

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT OF WHITE FUNGUS

Patients of white fungus infection show symptoms similar to COVID-19. The four white fungus cases reported in Patna hospital showed COVID-related symptoms but did not test positive for COVID. In all the cases, the lungs of the patients were found infected. The symptoms can also be similar to black fungus.

As the white fungus affects lungs and chest, it may lead to cough, chest pain, breathlessness. The infection may have inflammatory symptoms and cause swelling, infections, persistent headaches and pains.

While the infection can be detected through X-rays and CT scans, the patients are given anti-fungal medication for its treatment. In the cases reported in Patna, the patients were given anti-fungal medicines and they recovered.

Treatment of 'white fungus'

Patients with the white fungus are currently being treated with known anti-fungal medication and all four cases were reportedly in stable condition, with no other states having reported cases of the disease yet.

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