A new Indian research team found that Black fungus AKA mucormycosis can infect two-thirds of Covid Infected Males Within the first 10 – 20 days following their recovery.
Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 face various post-COVID syndromes, and some may be at risk of severe health complications. One such complication is mucormycosis, commonly called “Black fungus.” It is caused by mucorales fungi like rhizopus, rhizomucor, mucor, cunninghamella, and lichtheimia.
During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a notable surge in cases of mucormycosis. A recent study published in the Cureus journal sheds light on how mucormycosis affects post-COVID patients, particularly males.
Higher Risk for Males
The study highlights a striking trend, with males more susceptible to mucormycosis after contracting COVID-19. In fact, research indicates a male predominance in mucormycosis cases (67%) compared to females (33%). It means two out of every three men infected with COVID-19 could be at risk of developing mucormycosis, especially in the 20 to 30 days following their recovery.
How was data gathered?
A prospective observational study conducted in a dedicated COVID-19 tertiary care hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The study included 105 patients diagnosed with mucormycosis between June 2021 and December 2021.
Why only men?
Researchers could not find the exact reason why only men have a higher risk. However, they suspect estrogen plays a protective role in females, contributing to a lower prevalence of mucormycosis. Previous studies have also reported a higher male prevalence in mucormycosis cases.
Other Findings of the research
Apart from gender, the study identified other crucial risk factors for mucormycosis. Diabetes and the irrational use of steroids emerged as the most significant contributors to the infection. According to the study, it accounts for 53.33% and 45.71% of cases, respectively. These findings align with prior research, reinforcing the importance of managing diabetes and using steroids judiciously.
What to get from the study?
Interestingly, all patients in this study were literate, facilitating early disease recognition and prompt healthcare-seeking behavior. Similar studies have also shown that knowledge about mucormycosis and its urgency is more widespread among educated individuals.
The duration between a COVID-19 infection and mucormycosis was critical, with most patients (59.04%) developing mucormycosis within 10 to 20 days after COVID-19 infection.
According to the research, individuals should remain vigilant within 10 to 30 days after recovering from COVID-19, as this period has the highest risk of mucormycosis. To reduce the risk:
- Maintain controlled blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
- Avoid contact with soil, manure, and decaying organic matter.
- Wear a mask while gardening or working with soil.
- Keep wounds and cuts clean and covered.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any symptoms of mucormycosis.
How can black fungus be infected, and what are the symptoms?
Mucormycosis can be contracted through inhaling fungal spores or via direct contact with the fungus through cuts or wounds. It is more common among individuals with weakened immune systems, such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS.
Symptoms to Watch For
Symptoms of mucormycosis can vary depending on the affected body part and may include:
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Darkening of the nose, sinuses, or facial areas
- Facial pain and swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Vision problems
Mucormycosis is a severe infection that can be fatal without prompt treatment. Typically, treatment involves antifungal medications and surgical removal of infected tissues.