Dr Guleria, during a media briefing, said that labelling the same fungus with names of different colours can create confusion.
“It is better not to use the term ‘black fungus’ while talking of mucormycosis, as it leads to a lot of avoidable confusion,” he said.
“Black fungus is another family. This term got associated with mucormycosis due to the presence of black dots among the culture of white fungal colonies. In general, there are various types of fungal infections such as candida, aspergillosis, cryptococcus, histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis. Mucormycosis, candida and aspergillosis are the ones observed more in those with low immunity,” Dr Guleria stated.
He said that Mucormycosis is one of the general fungal infections being seen in recovering or recovered COVID-19 patients.
“The number of cases being reported is increasing, but it is not a communicable disease, meaning it does not spread from one person to another, like COVID-19 does,” Dr Guleria added.
He also commented on the prevalence of these infections and said, “Candida fungal infection can manifest with symptoms such as white patches in the mouth, oral cavities and tongue. It can infect private parts and can also be found in the blood (in which case it can become serious). Aspergillosis, which is relatively not common, affects and invades the lungs by creating cavities in the lungs. What is observed in COVID-19 is mostly mucormycosis, aspergillosis is observed occasionally, and Candida in some people.”
The AIIMS Delhi director said that 90%-95% of patients getting infected with Mucormycosis are found to have been either diabetic and/or taking steroids.
“This infection is seen very rarely in those who are neither diabetic nor taking steroids,” he said.
He added, “Some warning signs for mucormycosis such as headache, rusting or bleeding from nose, swelling below the eye, lowering of facial sensation, if observed in high-risk patients or those taking steroids, need to be informed to doctors so that early diagnosis and treatment can be given.”
Talking about the effect of the pandemic on children and young people, Dr Randeep Guleria noted that children suffered collateral damage due to mental stress, smartphone addiction and education challenges amid the ongoing pandemic.
He added that there is no indication as of now that children will be severely affected in the third wave of COVID-19.
Labeling the same fungus with names of different colors can create confusion.#Mucormycosis is not a communicable disease, unlike #COVID19. 90-95% of patients getting infected are found to have been either diabetic and/or taking steroids
– Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS pic.twitter.com/hKpexte7A9
— PIB India (@PIB_India) May 24, 2021
Earlier on Monday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that so far, 5,424 cases of Mucormycosis have been reported in 18 states and UTs.
“Out of 5,424 cases, 4,556 patients have a history of COVID-19 infection. 55% of the patients had diabetes,” he added.