Libra Socio Legal Trust organised a webinar on Black Fungus. The guest speaker for the session was fellow head and neck oncosurgery and maxillofacial trauma consultant, ENT surgeon, and head and neck oncosurgeon, Jayesh Rane. During the session, Rane spoke about Black Fungus also known as Mucormycosis which has been a matter of concern in the last few months.
Rane explained that this fungal infection was reported even before the COVID-19 pandemic and was seen in people having poor immunity, for example, in HIV-infected patients or patients with uncontrolled diabetes. The infection has now been reported in post-COVID-19 patients.
During the COVID-19 infection, the virus attacks small blood vessels and reduces the blood supply to different organs of the body, he explained. This reduced blood supply and decreased immunity allow the fungus to grow on dead tissue. The infection usually affects the nose and surrounding areas first causing nasal bleeding or crusting thus these being early symptoms. As the fungus advances it can affect the eyes and brain. Headaches, tooth pain, blackish discolouration of nasal bridge or skin, loss of vision are signs and require urgent management, said Rane, adding that it is more prevalent in patients with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Contributing factors are poor nasal and oral hygiene. Other factors could include excessive medication without proper monitoring.
Diagnosis is done with nasal endoscopy and biopsy or swab by an ENT surgeon. Further evaluation is done with a special CT scan and MRI. It is treated with specific antifungal drugs and adequate surgical debridement of dead tissue for better penetration of antifungal medicines. If detected early and with timely intervention the prognosis can be improved and lives can be saved.
The webinar was attended by over 100 participants.