Health, Asia - Pacific

Dangerous Indian black fungus spreads to 4 more countries

Amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cases of mucormycosis found in Chile, Uruguay, Egypt and Iraq

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 04.06.2021
Dangerous Indian black fungus spreads to 4 more countries


A dangerous fungal infection, which was first reported in India as black fungus, has been detected in at least four other countries.

Many cases have been reported in South American nations of Chile and Uruguay besides Egypt and Iraq in Middle East.

The Chilean Society of Infectiology said: “Cases of fungal infections have been detected since the start of the pandemic but the frequency has increased and serious cases have arisen,” MercoPress reported.

Authorities in Uruguay have also pointed out a case involving a 50-year-old patient who recovered from COVID-19.

Mucormycosis is a dangerous fungal infection which mainly affects people who have a weak immune system, causing loss of eyesight, removal of the nose and jaw bone. The diabetic patients have been underlined as high-risk people by experts from All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

India is currently battling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with the death toll crossing 340,000. But the country is now entangled in a new challenge in the form of mucormycosis – a fungal disease with a high mortality rate that is commonly referred to as “black fungus”.

In many cases, doctors are removing one eye of patients to prevent the spread of infection.

“In any case, this issue requires the greatest attention from the medical community at the national level with the support of the necessary resources to monitor the presence of cases, to have the support to facilitate early diagnosis and timely treatment of this serious complication,” the Chilean society said.

In Iraq, health officials last Tuesday reported first five cases of mucormycosis, including first death in a southern province.

The cases were reported in the southern province of Dhi Qar.

According to Middle East Monitor, Egyptian authorities have also started treating patients with mucormycosis.

Ehab Kamel, a Health Ministry official, told a news conference last Monday that medicine against the fungal disease is available in the country while some patients “have already recovered.”

A viral video on social media put spotlight on one of the patients in Egypt where brother of the late Egyptian actor, Samir Ghanem, said his “brother died after black fungus disease infected his eyes.”

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