Coronavirus Explained: What Is White Fungus Infection And How It Affects COVID-19 Patients

Coronavirus Explained: What Is White Fungus Infection And How It Affects COVID-19 Patients

White fungus infection occurs mainly among immunocompromised people - COVID-19 positive patients, those with uncontrolled diabetes and people on a high dose of steroids
Coronavirus Explained What Is White Fungus Infection And How It Affects COVID-19 PatientsCOVID-19 infection affects immunity and makes one prone to fungal infections
Highlights
  • Similar to Black Fungus, the White Fungus is a fungal infection
  • White Fungus infection infects people with compromised immunity
  • From skin to lungs, the White Fungus can infect any part of the body

New Delhi: After the central government on May 20 asked states to notify Black Fungus or Mucormycosis an epidemic, Bihar’s Patna reported four cases of White Fungus. Amid a continuous rise in COVID-19 cases and cases of Black Fungus as well, the report of a new fungal infection is a cause for concern. However, as per experts, there is no need to panic or worry. Similar to Black Fungus, the White Fungus is a fungal infection, being found in COVID-19 patients with compromised immunity. It’s not a novel infection; it has been around for a while and only a handful of cases have been reported so far. Here’s everything else you need to know about White Fungus infection.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: What Is Mucormycosis Or Black Fungus And How It Affects COVID-19 Patients

What Is White Fungus And Who Is At A Higher Risk Of Contracting It?

Fungus or any other infection is all around us; it’s in the environment. It’s only when someone’s immunity is low, they become prone to the infection. As the name suggests, the White Fungus is a fungal infection that occurs mainly among immunocompromised people this includes COVID-19 positive people, those with uncontrolled diabetes and people on a high dose of steroids, explains Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director, Medical Research at Jaslok Hospital and the author of ‘The Vaccine Book for COVID-19’.

Watch: COVID-19 And Mucormycosis Or Black Fungus Infection: All You Need To Know

What Are The Symptoms Of White Fungus Infection?

Dr Om Srivastava, Director Infectious Disease, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre said the symptoms will depend on which part of the body is affected. White fungus infection can spread to any part of the body including skin, tongue, brain, digestive system, kidney, brain and genitals.

If the infection reaches the digestive tract then an individual can face difficulty in eating and swallowing food. If the infection is inside head or skull then the symptoms will be headache and nausea, explained Dr Srivastava who is also a member of Mumbai’s COVID-19 taskforce.

Also Read: Fungal Infection Among COVID-19 Patients Explained: What Is Yellow Fungus?

Some of the common symptoms as shared by Dr Mugdha Tapdiya, Senior Consultant, Internal medicine, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj – Delhi are white patches on skin, white tongue, diarrhoea, hypoxia (low oxygen saturation levels) even after recovery from COVID-19, among others.

Why Are COVID-19 Patients At A Higher Risk Of Contracting White Fungus Infection?

Experts reiterated that the white fungus infection is not limited to COVID-19 patients. Anyone with compromised immunity like elderly people, cancer patients and those undergoing chemotherapy, HIV positive people, and those with uncontrolled diabetes.

Fungal infection occurs where there is a decrease in immunity for any reason including excessive use of antibiotics which can result in a slight reduction in immune responses of people thereby predisposing them to infections, said Dr Srivastava.

Also Read: Proning Do’s And Don’ts, What Experts Have To Say

The COVID-19 infection attacks an individual’s immune response. What adds to that is the use of steroids in moderate to severe cases which can further affect immunity and increase blood sugar levels.

Dr Tapdiya said that the improper use of oxygen cylinders can also result in infections. She said,

When there was an extreme shortage of oxygen for COVID-19 patients, people were using whatever kind of cylinder they got. Firstly, one should only use oxygen cylinders approved for medical use. Secondly, use a humidifier bottle to humidify oxygen. Thirdly, water used in humidifier should be sterilised.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explainer: All You Need To Know About Oxygen Concentrators

How To Prevent And Treat White Fungus Infection?

For prevention, Dr Parikh suggested three things – judicious use of steroids; controlled diabetes; basic preventive measures like masking and hand hygiene. Elaborating on the use of steroids, Dr Parikh said,

A knife in a hand of a skilled surgeon can heal but in the hand of butcher, it can hurt. Steroids should only be used in moderate to severe cases and the dosage should not exceed 6 milligrams per dose for 10 days. In certain cases, we may have to give a higher dose and for a longer time but that’s the decision of the treating doctor; patients should not decide on their treatment. If steroids are given early on, in the infection, then these increase the chance of infection as steroids suppress the immunity.

Experts also called for early detection for timely treatment of the infection. The treatment involves the usage of anti-fungal agents given either intravenously or orally.

White fungus is an opportunistic infection. It flourishes in bodies with low immunity. Let’s not hype the infection or be scared of it. Just be cautious and stay in touch with your treating doctor, said Dr Tapdiya.

Watch: Dos And Don’ts Of Using Steroids In COVID-19 Treatment

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

17,91,56,496Cases
5,81,68,051Active
11,71,06,212Recovered
38,82,233Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,91,56,496 and 38,82,233 have died; 5,81,68,051 are active cases and 11,71,06,212 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 3:45 am.

India

3,00,28,709 50,848Cases
6,43,19419,327Active
2,89,94,855 68,817Recovered
3,90,660 1,358Deaths
In India, there are 3,00,28,709 confirmed cases including 3,90,660 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,43,194 and 2,89,94,855 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,87,521 8,470

1,26,468 1,055

57,42,258 9,043

1,18,795 482

Kerala

28,29,460 12,617

1,00,881 746

27,16,284 11,730

12,295 141

Karnataka

28,15,029 3,709

1,18,615 4,541

26,62,250 8,111

34,164 139

Tamil Nadu

24,36,819 6,895

56,886 4,443

23,48,353 11,144

31,580 194

Andhra Pradesh

18,57,352 4,169

53,880 4,260

17,91,056 8,376

12,416 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,04,678 202

3,910 253

16,78,486 397

22,282 58

West Bengal

14,85,438 1,852

22,508 232

14,45,493 2,037

17,437 47

Delhi

14,32,778 397

1,918 78

14,05,927 467

24,933 8

Chhattisgarh

9,91,653 482

8,007 557

9,70,244 1,032

13,402 7

Rajasthan

9,51,393 137

2,388 303

9,40,101 437

8,904 3

Odisha

8,83,490 2,957

30,859 1,240

8,48,960 4,159

3,671 38

Gujarat

8,22,620 135

5,159 480

8,07,424 612

10,037 3

Madhya Pradesh

7,89,415 65

1,707 273

7,78,902 318

8,806 20

Haryana

7,67,726 146

2,200 137

7,56,231 263

9,295 20

Bihar

7,20,207 268

2,811 206

7,07,833 468

9,563 6

Telangana

6,15,574 1,175

16,640 606

5,95,348 1,771

3,586 10

Punjab

5,93,063 405

5,968 509

5,71,207 880

15,888 34

Assam

4,88,179 2,869

32,975 350

4,50,924 2,482

4,280 37

Jharkhand

3,44,775 110

1,417 72

3,38,256 180

5,102 2

Uttarakhand

3,38,978 171

2,896 68

3,29,030 231

7,052 8

Jammu And Kashmir

3,12,584 428

7,181 578

3,01,134 999

4,269 7

Himachal Pradesh

2,00,791 188

2,276 132

1,95,062 315

3,453 5

Goa

1,64,957 303

2,920 146

1,59,029 438

3,008 11

Puducherry

1,15,364 284

3,214 150

1,10,423 433

1,727 1

Manipur

64,993 575

9,214 84

54,714 649

1,065 10

Tripura

63,140 395

3,747 163

58,735 554

658 4

Chandigarh

61,467 23

278 33

60,383 56

806

Meghalaya

45,976 421

4,273 77

40,915 341

788 3

Arunachal Pradesh

33,664 289

2,548 9

30,956 279

160 1

Nagaland

24,438 64

1,757 87

22,204 149

477 2

Ladakh

19,871 33

360 5

19,309 38

202

Sikkim

19,458 137

2,430 18

16,732 152

296 3

Mizoram

18,409 430

4,424 197

13,900 233

85

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,520 4

61 1

10,455 3

4

Lakshadweep

9,504 33

315 4

9,142 36

47 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,425 10

103 6

7,195 4

127

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