Black Fungus not contagious, curable: Dr Dhakeshwar
'Cloth mask ineffective against virus, double up with surgical mask'

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, May 24 2021: Asserting that Mucormycosis, which is caused by black fungus, may be deadly but not contagious, JNIMS ENT consultant Dr Dhakeshwar Singh Potsangbam said that early diagnosis and early treatment can cure the disease.

During an exclusive talk with The People's Chronicle in connection with the news of Black Fungus creating a sense of panic among the masses, Dr Dhakeshwar said that so far around 1000 cases of Mucormycosis have been detected across the country.

Though many have died due to the disease, it can be cured with early diagnosis and timely treatment.

It is not contagious through physical contact.

The fungus can cause the disease in people with low immune, high blood sugar or suppressed immune conditions due to medications like using steroid for long period.

It mainly affects nose, eyes and brain.

Once it reaches the brain, chance of survival is very low.

Earlier, it was a rare disease but its prevalence is increasing significantly amid the Covid-19 pandemic and some states have even declared it as an epidemic.

Covid patients spending long days in ICU are susceptible to get the infection as they are given steroid for long period to treat Covid-19 .

As a result, blood sugar test is very important while discharging Covid patients from ICU or after long oxygen support.

Common symptoms of Mucormycosis include nose blockage, fever, nose bleeding, eye pain while sneezing, constant headache, blurry vision, vomiting with blood among others.

As the infection advances, one may need to remove nose or eye tissues.

Any Covid recovered patients who have low blood sugar or on steroid for long period should consult doctor if they experience such symptoms, he explained.

Dr Dhakeshwar then appealed to Covid recovered patients to refrain from activities involving dusts and waste materials, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, hand gloves and masks.

Wearing masks to protect from Covid-19 will not cause black fungus.

However, one should not reuse masks and change it regularly as per recommendation.

On the other hand, cloth masks are ineffective against Covid virus.

The best mask is N95 mask, which can filter 95 per cent of the virus particle but changing N95 masks every day is costly.

As such, surgical mask is a viable option which has almost same level of filtration.

One should replace mask after some hours of usage or when it becomes wet or soiled.

Cloth masks are just to make a fashion statement, he said, while urging the public to use double masks by wearing a surgical mask underneath their cloth masks.

He also appealed to all to wash cloth masks every day, refrain from touching masks while wearing and replace the mask once removed for any purpose.

Meanwhile, white fungus is also a common infection and it is easily treatable.

ICMR had already issued guidelines for prevention and treatment of black fungus and white fungus which include controlling blood sugar, using steroid only on doctor's advice and using distilled water in humidifiers of oxygen cylinders or oxygen concentrators.

He also advised against rampant use of antibiotics and also against using over the counter drugs if anybody is suspicious of Covid-19 .

Maximum of Covid patients are asymptomatic and only 20 per cent of them require oxygen support with around five percent requiring ICU.

He then urged the public to consume healthy diets, carry out regular exercise and stay healthy to stay safe from the pandemic.

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