All you need to know about Mucormycosis

What is this “Black fungus disease” affecting Covid-19 patients?


For a few days now there have been several media reports of Covid-19 patients developing a mysterious “black fungus disease”. Instances have been reported from Delhi, Mumbai and a few cities in Gujarat so far. Here’s a closer look at what Mucormycosis is and what to do if you or a loved one contracts it.

What is Mucormycosis?

This is a rare but serious fungal infection that affects the nose, eyes and sometimes even the brain. It is caused due to exposure to mucor, a kind of mould that is found in soil, plants manure and decaying plants.

Why is it dangerous?

It is dangerous because it spreads aggressively and can affect the lungs and the sinus. It is life-threatening to patients of diabetes. It is also extremely dangerous to anyone with reduced immunity, or other comorbidities arising out of cancer or organ transplants.

What is its connection with Covid-19?

Mucormycosis is now being reported in patients of Covid-19, even in cases where the person has recovered from Covid-19. What makes it worse, is that it is believed to have a mortality rate of 50 percent and may be triggered by steroids used to treat Covid patients. This is because some steroids affect immunity and also increase blood sugar levels.

What are the symptoms?

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), some of the most common symptoms of Mucormycosis are pain and redness around eyes or nose, fever, headache, coughing, bloody vomits and altered mental status.

In fact, the ICMR has now released the following chart to explain the disease and treatment in greater detail:

Cases in India

Instances of the disease have been reported from Mumbai with over 20 reported just from the government run Sion Hospital. Dr. Akshay Nair, a Mumbai Bases eye surgeon told BBC that one of his patients recently required an eye removal to prevent the spread of the disease. He said he had come across only 10 cases over the last two years, but the numbers had increased significantly this year.

Meanwhile 90 Mucormycosis patients are being treated at the Rajkot Civil Hospital. The Indian Express reported that a dedicated ward was set up to treat the condition on the instructions of the District Collector. IE quoted a press release as saying, “At present, more than 90 patients of mucormycosis are being treated at the civil hospital. Three separate wards have been created for this purpose. They include a separate ward in PMSSY block (the multi-specialty block which has been converted into the District Covid Hospital) for those who are positive for Covid-19 as well as a separate facility having 70 beds for patients operated upon for mucormycosis.”

According to a Hindustan Times report instances of the disease are also being reported from Ahmedabad with at least 67 people undergoing treatment for the same at BJ Medical College.

Meanwhile, NITI Ayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul has advised rational use of steroids and said that at present there is “no big outbreak”.


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