Some Indian COVID patients developing sometimes-fatal ‘black fungus’

Coronavirus

A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

(NEXSTAR) – Some Indian COVID-19 patients are developing a rare “black fungus” following coronavirus infection, according to multiple media reports out of the country.

Per the reports, physicians in India are reporting cases of mucormycosis, known colloquially as “black fungus,” among COVID-19 patients and those who have recovered from COVID.

The infections have appeared in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi, CNBC reports.

Mucormycosis is “a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes” that “live throughout the environment,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says mucormycosis largely affects immunocompromised individuals and estimates the mortality rate at 50%. The infection is treatable with corticosteroids.

The Indian Council of Medical Research released a handout with symptoms to look out for. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Pain and redness around the eyes and/or nose
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bloody vomiting
  • Altered mental status

If left untreated, mucormycosis can result in permanent damage, including blindness, as well as death.

According to CNBC, mucormycosis was reported in India prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some estimate the prevalence of the illness is about 70 times higher in India than the rest of the world.

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