White fungus

Source: By Deccan Herald

As the deadly black fungus that has accompanied the second Covid-19 wave in the country was elevated to epidemic status in some states, an even more lethal “white fungus” has reportedly surfaced in Bihar.

At least four patients had been diagnosed with the fungal infection in Patna, Head of Patna Medical College and Hospital's Microbiology Department, warning that there could be many more cases of the disease so far unreported.

What is 'white fungus'?

Like the black fungus, white fungus is also more likely to afflict people with compromised immune systems, pre-existing medical conditions, AIDS, a recent kidney transplant or diabetes.

The unsanitary use of oxygen cylinders or the overuse of steroids can also heighten the risk of infection. The new fungal infection has raised an alarm as it can appear on several parts of the body, including the skin, stomach, kidney, brain, genitals and mouth besides lungs. The exact mortality rate of the disease is still unknown, though it can be dangerous if the infection reaches the lungs.

What are the symptoms?

People infected with the white fungus reportedly experience symptoms similar to Covid if it reaches the lungs, despite testing negative for the virus. Experts have said CT scans or X-Rays can reveal the condition. Children and women are more at risk of contracting the fungal infection, according to doctors.

Using tap water in the humidifier attached to an oxygen cylinder could be a major contributor to chest infection in people on oxygen support, according to Singh. Arunesh Kumar, a doctor at Paras Hospital, also said that people should be especially careful of moulds in water that could lead to infection and proper sanitation was very important.

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.