Black Fungus Symptoms & Causes

introduction

Mucormycosis is caused by exposure to mucor mold which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. These infections are usually acquired when spores from the molds are inhaled. The infection can enter the body through a cut in the skin in some cases. 

Mucormycosis infection can happen to anyone of any age. While most people may come into contact with mucor spores at some point in their lives, it is often the immunocompromised individuals that are severely affected by this fungal infection.  Some of the conditions that may lead to compromised immunity are uncontrolled diabetes, neutropenia, organ transplant, kidney insufficiency and HIV/AIDS. Some medications can also lower immunity leaving patients susceptible to the infection. Black fungus has been reported among COVID-19 patients due to widespread use of steroids in COVID treatment which leaves patients immunocompromised. 

Symptoms of Black Fungus

Symptoms of black fungal disease depend on the part of the body infected with the fungus.Some patients have more than one area infected. The most common early symptoms of mucormycosis are sinus infection, nasal congestion, nasal discharge and nasal pain. A fever and headache can also occur.

Mucromycosis may affect:

  • Nose, sinuses, eyes and brain ( Rhinocerebral mucormycosis) 
  • Skin ( Cutaneous mucormycosis) 
  • Lungs (Pulmonary mucormycosis) 
  • Kidneys (Renal mucormycosis) 
  • Abdomen ( GI mucormycosis).  

Rhinocerebral mucormycosis is increasingly seen among immunocompromised individuals and individuals with poorly controlled diabetes. Some of the symptoms of Rhinocerebral mucormycosis based on the area of infection are as follows. 

Mucormycosis fungal infection symptoms in the nose:

  • Blocked nose
  • Stuffiness in the nose
  • Nasal discharge 
  • In rare cases – blood or black fluid discharge from the nostrils.

As the sinuses get involved , there could be the following black fungus symptoms:

  • Pain over the cheek 
  • Loss of sensation in areas of the face
  • Tingling sensation

With eye-involvement , we observe the following black fungus symptoms: 

  • Droopiness of the eyelid
  • Double vision 
  • Inability of open or move the eye
  • Loss of vision 

While these can be categorised as black fungal infection symptoms , they are not definitive. These symptoms may not all develop suddenly as well. Several of the black fungal disease symptoms may also occur due to bacterial infections.

 It is advised that any patients with black fungus symptoms who fall in the high-risk category must seek aggressive investigations to detect fungal infection. In case of Mucromycisis, early detection and treatment is extremely critical for good prognosis.

Causes of Black Fungal infection

Mucormycosis is caused by exposure to mucor mold which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables.These infections are usually acquired when spores from the molds are inhaled. The infection can enter the body through a cut in the skin in some cases. 

Mucormycosis infection can happen to anyone of any age. While most people may come into contact with mucor spores at some point in their lives , it is often the immunocompromised individuals that are severely affected by this fungal infection.  Some of the conditions that may lead to compromised immunity are uncontrolled diabetes, neutropenia, organ transplant, kidney insufficiency and HIV/AIDS. Some medications can also lower immunity leaving patients susceptible to the infection. Black fungus has been reported among COVID-19 patients due to widespread use of steroids in COVID treatment which leaves patients immunocompromised. 

This infection is not contagious, but can be aggressive and life-threatening. Prompt diagnosis at the first appearance of black fungus symptoms and early treatment are very critical. 

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