Black fungus, a post-COVID-19 infection, claims four lives in Bengaluru

Published : May 18, 2021 14:29 IST

Dr K. Sudhakar, Health Minister of Karnataka. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Four persons have died while 97 people have fallen victim to the dreaded “black fungus”, an infection caused by a group of fungi, that is on the rise among COVID-19 patients and survivors in Karnataka. Dr K. Sudhakar, Health Minister of Karnataka, provided these figures at a press conference yesterday, adding that six regional centres have been identified in the State to treat black fungus, or Mucormycosis as the infection is officially known.

According to information from the State Health Department, “Black fungus is a post-COVID-19 complication and could affect those who have uncontrolled diabetes and use a high dosage of steroids. Those who undergo organ transplantation and those with immunocompromised conditions like HIV [Human Immunodeficiency Viruses] are also likely to contract this.”

The initial symptoms of this infection include sinus headache, facial pain, stuffy nose and blurring of vision. If untreated, the later, more serious symptoms include facial swelling on one side, closure of the eyelids and swelling of the eyeballs, leading to loss of vision and, sometimes, even death. Said Dr Sudhakar: “The fungus enters through the nasal cavity of persons with low immunity before it attacks the eyesight of the victim. One should get treatment as early as possible. It is learnt that the water being used in the humidifiers in hospitals is causing this.” He said an expert panel has been set up to find out the exact cause of the disease, after which suitable measures will be taken to control the spread.

According to reports, 174 cases of black fungus have been reported in Bengaluru, of which 14 persons have died so far, clearly showing that the infection is spreading rapidly through the city.

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