While India has been drowning in hundreds of thousands of COVID cases daily, deadly fungal infections have been on the rise. The first to be identified was black fungus, also known as mucormycosis. This fungal infection that affects the sinuses, brains and lungs, has been found in over 8,800 COVID patients, of which 250 have died from it.
But now, other variations of fungal infections have been identified in India—white and yellow fungus. Doctors believe that while white fungus is more dangerous than black, yellow is even more fatal than white.
So far, around seven COVID patients have been diagnosed with white fungus aka aspergillosis. This infection is said to be far more dangerous than its counterpart because it can severely destroy the lungs, if detected too late. The name comes from white-coloured spores that show up inside your mouth and on your tongue upon infection. Indian Express spoke to Dr. Arunesh Kumar who confirmed that, similar to black fungus, this type of infection also occurs in immunocompromised people who come in contact with moulds that are present in the environment. Dr. Kumar said:
Those who have weak immunity like diabetes, cancer patients, and those who are taking steroids for a long period of time must take special care as they are more at risk. It is also affecting those coronavirus patients who are on oxygen support.
He added that sanitation is vital for these patients.
Most recently, one case of yellow fungus has been detected in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A 45-year-old man who was undergoing COVID treatment has contracted all three fungal infections but doctors are most concerned about yellow fungus because it’s the first time they've seen it in a human. Dr BP Tyagi, ENT specialist, told ANI:
Yellow fungus is generally found in reptiles. I found this for the first time in humans.
Very little is known about yellow fungus infections, but unlike the other variants this infection starts attacking the body internally—which is why it’s considered to be more lethal. It causes pus leakage, leads to slow healing of wounds and in some cases, it can also trigger organ failure. Doctors advise patients to get checked immediately if they’re noticing symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, or sunken eyes.
For now, it can only be treated with the same anti-fungal intravenous injection used for black fungus, called AmphotericinB.