Wednesday 12 May 2021 8:22 pm

Outbreak of rare deadly black fungus among Covid-19 patients spreading from India to Pakistan

Media in Pakistan are reporting that hospitals in the South Asian country are treating Covid-19 patients suffering from a rare black fungus, following dozens of cases in India in recent days.

“We have seen at least five cases of Mucormycosis also called, Black Fungus, among serious Covid -19 patients under treatment. At least four patients died due to this complication,” a physician dealing with Covid -19 patients at a tertiary-care hospital in Karachi disclosed to local newspaper The News earlier today.

India outbreak

In recent days, dozens of hospitals across India started to report cases of Coronavirus patients being hit by the rare fungal infection which has a mortality rate of about 50 per cent.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis, the extremely rare infection, which causes vital organs to rot, include the brain, lungs and sinuses.

According to a report earlier this week in The Hindustan Times, one of India’s largest newspapers, the country’s governmental Council of Medical Research warned doctors in recent days to look out for symptoms, such as blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, toothache and loosening of teeth, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.

The fungus is usually found in decaying fruits and vegetables and certain soils, often at markets and in agricultural settings.

Covid-19 surge

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Mucormycosis was close to non-existent, with only a few known cases reported every year.

However, since Covid-19 spiralled out of control in India last month, hospitals and clinics have started to report multiple cases a day, according to The Indian Express newspaper.

Some doctors have had to remove infected jaw bones, noses and eyes in order to save patients, namely to prevent the mucor from spreading to the brain.

“Mucormycosis is now playing absolute havoc. We are seeing four to five new patients every day and have around 35 patients still admitted,” Dr Prashant Rahate, the chairman of Seven Star Hospital in the city of Nagpur, told The Telegraph on Monday.

The hospital has reportedly treated more black fungus patients than any other clinic in India.

According to data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, black fungus has a mortality rate of around 50 per cent. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improve survival chances.