As cases of Black Fungus continue to rise in several states of India and the centre has asked states of India and the centre has asked states to declare it as an epidemic, four cases of White Fungus have also been reported form Patra, Bihar.
What is White Fungus?
Medical experts consider White Fungus infection deadlier than Black Fungus because the White Fungus impacts the lungs along with other parts such as nails, skin, stomach, kidney, brain, private parts and mouth.The severe infection of White Fungus impacts lungs in a similar manner as COVID-19 with chest pain and shortness of breath.Other symptoms can also be confused with another disease which lead to delays in starting antifungal treatment.
Symptoms of White fungus mainly depend on where the fungus is growing in the body.The most common form of infection is the skin. The White Fungus can confuse medical experts as the severe form of the disease impacts lungs in the same manner that SARS-COV-2 does.
The symptoms includes –
• Small, painless bump on the skin that can develop anytime from 1-12 weeks after exposure to the fungus which eventually grows bigger.
• For lung infection, symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, Chest pain and fever
• If the infection is disseminated, it depends on the affected body part. Infections in joints can cause joint pain that may be confused with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Infection of the central nervous system can involve difficulty thinking, headache and seizures.
The main reason for the spread of this virus is unknown.But in some cases, this infection has been detected in tap water used in a humidifier attached to an oxygen cylinder given to the patient.
Risk Factors –
The White Fungus may be risky for-
• Pregnant women
• People having weakened immune system
• AIDS patients
• Kidney transplant patients
• Those on steroids for a long time
• Patients of COVID-19 who are on oxygen support
For protection against any pathogen including White fungus, it is recommended ” to wear protective clothing such as gloves and long sleeves when touching plant matter which can cause minor cuts or scrapes”.
While not much is divulged as of now, doctors suggest it can be prevented by sanitising the oxygen or ventilator properly and taking proper care of the medical equipment used on the patients.
The disease can be diagnosed by either taking a small tissue sample or biopsy of the infected area of the body and blood tests also sometimes help in discovering the infection.
Fungus get its confirmation through HRCT scan or X-ray.
Treatment of White Fungus disease is mainly done through Antifungal medicines and it is not life threatening if diagnosed timely. However, this perspective changes if person contracts severe disease and lungs are infected.
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