Published on May 23, 2021
AHMEDABAD: After the dreaded mucormycosis, several patients in the city and state also recorded prevalence of aspergillosis in some patients – caused by the Aspergillus fungus. To differentiate it from the ‘black fungus,’ it’s named ‘white fungus’ but the experts said that such classification could be misguiding.
Moreover, it’s more than black or white fungus – as the immunocompromised patients are susceptible to other fungal infections as well, they added.
“Fungus are everywhere – and it doesn’t affect everyone equally. Our immune system fights it off. But it’s opportunistic. If the patient has lower immune system coupled with co-morbidities like diabetes, it gets the chance to grow,” said Dr Neeraj Suri, an ENT surgeon with Gandhinagar GMERS Medical College. “We have recorded instances of both mucormycosis and aspergillosis in recent times. But recently, we have also seen cases of other fungal infections such as rhizopus. The bottom line is – one must not let the guards down.”
Dr Nina Bhalodia, head of the ENT department at Sola GMERS Medical College, said that one cannot rule out the prevalence of other fungal infections. “Even in the case of aspergillosis, without biopsy it would be difficult to differentiate. But what I want to convey to the citizens is, except severe cases of mucormycosis, other fungal infections have very low fatality. The patients should not panic,” she said.
The experts pointed out some conducive factors that helped fungal growth in patients – especially among Covid-recovered ones. They said that coupled with low immunity and pre-existing comorbidity, use of steroids and presence of blood clotting can cause the proliferation.
“The ferritin level is invariably high in these patients. One of the markers for Covid-19 as well, the levels show inflammation in body,” said Dr Bhalodia, who recently treated three cases of aspergillosis.
Dr Suri warned against using liposomal amphotericin B as ‘miracle drug’ for mucormycosis. “Mere injections don’t save the patients – the management starts right from locating the fungal spread and removing it completely. The key is to prevent further proliferation,” she said.