Following COVID-19, India’s New “Black Fungus” Epidemic

When India fell victim to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in April of 2021, the sudden rise of infections and deaths took the country by surprise. In a time where the coronavirus was seeming to find its end with vaccination releases and significantly lower cases, it was revealed that India, like many other countries, was falling behind in its COVID-19 relief processes. As of June 2021, less than 10% of India’s civilians have been vaccinated. In hospitals, doctors are running scarce along with essential supplies in order to treat patients.

In addition to the pre-existing turmoil of India, scientists have found a new epidemic, following the current coronavirus pandemic, called Mucormycosis. Commonly called as “Black Fungus”, this disease exists on dead skin. From low levels, case numbers recently burst to 30,000 and up to 2,100 deaths. New Delhi’s Health Ministry has not released any warnings or news of fatalities figures.

While this disease is relatively new, doctors are not sure of the cause but are beginning to reach conclusions. According to a report done by the New York Times titled “In the Wake of India’s Covid Crisis, a ‘Black Fungus’ Epidemic Follows”, the experts said, “The bone-and-tissue-eating fungus can attack the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, the skin and the sinuses, where it often spreads to the eye socket and the brain if left untreated. Treatment for the disease involves complex, often disfiguring surgery and an uncommon and expensive drug, contributing to a mortality rate above 50 percent.”

“Mucormycosis will tail off and go back to baseline as the Covid cases subside,” said Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, an epidemiologist. “But it may come back in the third wave unless we find out why it is happening.”

Scientists have confirmed that the black fungus disease is not contagious between one person to another but it is a result of commonplace spores growing in populated areas such as hospitals and homes. With the lack of medical oxygen, crowded hospitals, and sick patients, it leaves the perfect conditions for such dangerous disease to grow.

According to the New Delhi health ministry, approximately four out of five Mucormycosis patients tested positive previously with Covid-19. More than half have had diabetes, relating to the high blood sugar levels caused by the steroids given as a temporary cure.


Categories: Clinical