India is currently battling an unprecedented COVID-19 surge. So far, about 26 million people have been infected, with more than 287,000 succumbing to the virus, which has led to the nation becoming the second-worst COVID-hit country in the world, after the United States.
As the Indian government makes efforts to curb an outbreak of deadly black fungus, the state of Bihar has reported at least four cases of white fungus.
Dr SN Singh, head of the Microbiology Department at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, has confirmed the cases of white fungus, also known as Candidiasis, and told local media that all four patients showed all the symptoms of COVID-19 but tested negative in multiple labs. The doctor said that during a detailed examination, it turned out that they were infected with white fungus.
“White fungus belongs to the family of fungus Candida“, Dr Monalisa Sahu, who specialises in infectious diseases, told Sputnik, adding that in a country like India, “the fatality rate of the infection is as high as 44 percent”.
Doctors say that risk factors for white fungus are very similar to Mucormycosis, or black fungus, like uncontrolled sugar, immunosuppressive drugs, hospital-acquired infection, etc.
“This fungus is also seen in those patients whose immune system is weak, and it can affect almost all the parts of the body like lungs, nails, brain, skin, and even genitals”, Dr Vineet Sehgal, a doctor at AIIMS Delhi, told Sputnik. “It may mimic the signs seen in COVID-19 patients, but patients have persistent cough even after their COVID reports come [back] negative”.
Speaking about the treatment, Dr Monalisa Sahu said, “superficial infections like urinary tract infection and oral Candidiasis require therapy for as short as 14 days, and may do well with oral medications only. But invasive infections require IV therapy with drugs like Caspofungin, Anidulafungin, and Micafungin, and the duration of treatment may be from 14 days to six weeks“.