Bhubaneswar: Amid the marauding second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, another black swan event has taken the country and State in its grip. Under the shadow of pandemic, a lethal epidemic - the black fungus - has apparently taken some states under its seize. The lethality is the mortality rate of the fungus has been estimated at 54 per cent, revealed a statistical report of US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WHAT THE COUNTRY AND STATE DATA SAY?
As per the data available with Union Government, the fatality rate in the country at present has been around 3 per cent (3.02). But the cases in the country have posted a 66 per cent rise in the country during the last 15-days. The state-wise fatality rates hover between 1 per cent to 3 per cent.
In Odisha too, the number of black fungus cases have grown by 66 per cent between May 25 and May 30. The respite, however, is State yet to report casualties owing to the lethal fungus, reveals the data with State Health Department.
BLACK FUNGUS HAS EASY ACCESS TO HOMES?
Termed as an 'opportunistic pathogen', the fungus have an easy access to every home. Breads may turn the carrier for the deadly pathogen. The black moulds that develop over breads - a staple breakfast diet of vast number of households - are none other than the lethal black fungus.
As per CDC, the fungus needs moisture, starch and sugar to grow. With moisture in the atmosphere having been high now, breads have all the necessary ingredients to support the fungus growth.
It further says that the black fungus growth is higher in Summer and Autumn seasons, when the moisture in the atmosphere remains high.
"The common species of fungi that causes mucormycosis are - Rhizopus and Mucor species. The black mould in bread is caused by Rhizopus Stolonifer. The spores they produce when inhaled or accidentally comes in contact with nose, they infect very seriously by mostly infecting respiratory system and brain, " explained CDC.
HOW TO CHECK THE FUNGI'S ENTRY TO HOMES?
In order to prevent the fungi entering into the homes, people should purchase the breads where the expiry or before use date has been clearly mentioned. Moreover, the breads need to be stored in places that are dry and devoid of moisture. And the most important fact to be remembered is breads need to be consumed at the earliest. Also one should see it to that the stored bread doesn't come in contact with water drops, explained Sagar Dash, senior physician at Government run Community Health Centres in Khordha.
HOW BLACK FUNGUS DETECTED?
Fungal infection cannot be detected in blood tests or swabs assays from throat and nose, as is done to detect Covid-19. Biposy is required to detect the infection. In biopsy, lab technicians using needle sucks the tissue fluid or may take a slice of the tissue itself to find the infection.
EARLY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
If you are Covid-19 positive or recovered from the disease but having a high nasal congestion then don't take it lightly. Though bacteria may be the cause of sinusitis, if antibiotics didn't give relief then the infection could be Mucormycosis.
As the disease progresses, the symptoms (as per ICMR) that manifest are:
- Black coloured nasal discharge or blood from nose.
- One-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling
- Local pain in the cheek bones.
- Toothache, loosening of teeth and jaw involvement.
- Blurred or double vision with pain, Redness around eyes
- Chest pain and worsening of respiratory symptoms like difficulty in breathing.
- Fever, lesion on skin
As per ICMR advisory, don't lose the crucial time to treat this disease or else not only could it be life threatening but also leave infected persons maimed. Earlier case studies show that many survived by loosing eyes or jaws.
HOW TO PREVENT THE FUNGI?
ICMR advises use of masks to prevent the fungi getting inhaled, especially at construction sites, compost piles, solid waste dumps etc.
To prevent from contracting it from soils, emphasises on wearing full shoes, long sleeve shirts, full trousers and use of gloves when dealing with soil activities or washing vegetables grown under soil.