What Is Black Fungus? How Does It Affect COVID-19 Patients? An Expert Explains

What Is Black Fungus? How Does It Affect COVID-19 Patients? An Expert Explains

Coronavirus Outbreak, Features
- in Coronavirus Outbreak, Features
What Is Black Fungus? How Does It Affect COVID-19 Patients? An Expert ExplainsBanega Swasth India team speaks to Dr Rommel Tickoo, Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare to answer frequently asked questions about the Black Fungus

New Delhi: As India struggles with a deadly second wave of COVID-19, cases of a rare fungal infection called “mucormycosis” are being reported across the country, adding to the worries. Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, is a fungal infection, recently being found in COVID-19 patients with compromised immunity. The disease results in disfiguration and in some cases, it is proving to be fatal. The life-threatening disease has infected many COVID-19 patients including those who have recovered.

Banega Swasth India team speaks to Dr Rommel Tickoo, Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare to answer frequently asked questions about the Black Fungus or Mucormycosis disease that is infecting COVID-19 patients.

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

What Is Black Fungus And Why Are We Seeing More Cases?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: Mucormycosis is basically a fungal disease. It doesn’t affect common people, it only infect people who are immunocompromised, which means if their immunity is low. Talking about the increase in black fungus cases in COVID scenario – it is because to treat the COVID patients we are using steroids which is causing an increase in sugar levels of the patient, and people who are diabetic are anyways at higher risk from this infection. We are also seeing more cases of this in transplanted patients, who have their kidney, lungs transplanted or who are suffering from cancer, HIV.

In the first wave of COVID-19 also, we had seen some cases of black fungus, it is now become more because a lot many people are infected with the virus and unfortunately usage of steroids has also gone up, as a result the risk have increased.

How Does Black Fungus Infect People? What Are The Symptoms To Look Out For?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: Black fungus disease has four varieties, one is rinocerebral that affects your face, it is the most common one. It enters in the body through sinuses and can extend in your eye and even brain. Second variety is pulmonary which has your lung involved. Third variety is gastrointestinal mucor and it is very rare one. Lastly, one is which affects your skin.

Overall, if we talk the mortality from black fungus is 50 per cent, which means people who have this disease are at high risk of death.

The common symptoms which we are seeing in COVID patients are eye pain, headache, jaw pain, toothache, double vision, eyeballs coming out and discolouration of mouth. I suggest, if one is a COVID-19 patient and has some immunocompromised disease, they should look out for these symptoms after 2 to 4 weeks of their COVID-19 recovery.

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

How Is Black Fungus Diagnosed?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: The diagnosis of the disease is simple, it can be seen through endoscopy through telescope and the confirmation can be done by stain, culture or biopsy.  Imaging, CT Scans are very important for diagnostic, in some cases even MRI, as it can tell you the extent of the disease in the patient.

What Is The Treatment Of Black Fungus?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: It is a surgical procedure followed by anti-fungal treatment. However, surgery is very disfiguring because face is involved and whatever tissues are there, one has to remove it as it is a rapidly invasive infection. Sometimes we also have to remove the eye in patient if it is extended that much. Early diagnosis of the infection is the key to prevention in this disease. However, the treatment of the disease is long and can be an expensive affair.

What Is White Fungus?

Dr Rommel Tickoo:  White fungus is also seen more in immunocompromised patients and people who take steroids for longer time in general for some or the other disease. Its mortality is not that high, and the treatment is simple. Only in few ICU patients, who have long stays in the hospital, the fungal infection becomes critical as it comes in the blood.

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

Myth or Fact – Black Fungus Found On Onion Can Also Cause This Disease?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: It is a myth. What we see on food is also of mucor variety but it doesn’t infect people commonly. It is also not contagious, meaning it doesn’t spread from one person to another.  It is not like if we have eaten some bad food with fungus on it or if we just smell it, it can infect you with Black Fungus disease.

Excessive Use Of Zinc Can Cause Black Fungus Disease – Myth or Fact?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: Literature says the disease feeds on iron and zinc, so for long time these supplements should not be taken and as it is excess of anything is bad. Even vitamins should be taken for brief time, not for months or years. Having said that, it doesn’t mean if you are taking you will get this disease. To get infected with black fungus, there are a lot of other factors as well.

Also Read: How Safe Are COVID-19 Vaccines? Expert Answers

Can A Non-COVID Patient Contract Black Fungus?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: Of course, they can, but we should know that this disease is very rare. We have seen people who are immunocompromised, who are on steroids for longer duration or are diabetic and has uncontrolled sugar levels get the infection. All these factors combined makes them at higher risk. It is not that the combination of all this in every patient will make them more prone to the fungal infection. It is a rare one.

Also Read: COVID-19 And Black Fungus: Owing To Costs Of Treatment, Poor Families Stand Helpless While Centre Declares It Notifiable Disease

Dirty Masks And Black Fungus – What Is The Link?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: No they cannot, there is no data. Masks are anyways unhygienic, if you keep on wearing same one and don’t wash it. We recommend daily wash of cotton masks for maintaining good personal hygiene.

What Are The Recovery Chances Of A Person From Black Fungus Disease?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: If it is diagnosed at an early stage, people can recover from it. The problem comes when we have different variety of black fungus, one which infects your lungs and other body parts and not just face, as one tends to not see it.

How Should One Protect Themselves From Getting Infected With Black Fungus?

Dr Rommel Tickoo: Prevent yourself from getting COVID, then you automatically prevent yourself from this disease. Get yourself vaccinated and mask up properly. Recent study shows that only 10 to 15 per cent of people in India are wearing a mask properly. Masking and vaccinations are by far the best thing you can do to prevent yourself from this disease.

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


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.


3,00,28,709 50,848Cases
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

59,87,521 8,470

1,26,468 1,055

57,42,258 9,043

1,18,795 482


28,29,460 12,617

1,00,881 746

27,16,284 11,730

12,295 141


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


14,32,778 397

1,918 78

14,05,927 467

24,933 8


9,91,653 482

8,007 557

9,70,244 1,032

13,402 7


9,51,393 137

2,388 303

9,40,101 437

8,904 3


8,83,490 2,957

30,859 1,240

8,48,960 4,159

3,671 38


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


7,67,726 146

2,200 137

7,56,231 263

9,295 20


7,20,207 268

2,811 206

7,07,833 468

9,563 6


6,15,574 1,175

16,640 606

5,95,348 1,771

3,586 10


5,93,063 405

5,968 509

5,71,207 880

15,888 34


4,88,179 2,869

32,975 350

4,50,924 2,482

4,280 37


3,44,775 110

1,417 72

3,38,256 180

5,102 2


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


1,64,957 303

2,920 146

1,59,029 438

3,008 11


1,15,364 284

3,214 150

1,10,423 433

1,727 1


64,993 575

9,214 84

54,714 649

1,065 10


63,140 395

3,747 163

58,735 554

658 4


61,467 23

278 33

60,383 56



45,976 421

4,273 77

40,915 341

788 3

Arunachal Pradesh

33,664 289

2,548 9

30,956 279

160 1


24,438 64

1,757 87

22,204 149

477 2


19,871 33

360 5

19,309 38



19,458 137

2,430 18

16,732 152

296 3


18,409 430

4,424 197

13,900 233


Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,520 4

61 1

10,455 3



9,504 33

315 4

9,142 36

47 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,425 10

103 6

7,195 4


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