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

June 2, 2021 0 Comments



COVID-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

17,11,79,099Cases

5,89,42,261Active

10,86,71,879Recovered

35,64,959Deaths

Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,11,79,099 and 35,64,959 have died; 5,89,42,261 are active cases and 10,86,71,879 have recovered as on June 2, 2021 at 4:02 am.

India

2,83,07,832 1,32,788Cases

17,93,6451,01,875Active

2,61,79,085 2,31,456Recovered

3,35,102 3,207Deaths

In India, there are 2,83,07,832 confirmed cases including 3,35,102 deaths. The number of active cases is 17,93,645 and 2,61,79,085 have recovered as on June 2, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

57,61,015 14,123

2,33,498 22,680

54,31,319 35,949

96,198 854

Karnataka

26,18,735 14,304

2,98,320 15,431

22,90,861 29,271

29,554 464

Kerala

25,46,339 19,760

2,02,828 4,551

23,34,502 24,117

9,009 194

Tamil Nadu

21,23,029 26,513

2,96,131 5,650

18,02,176 31,673

24,722 490

Andhra Pradesh

17,04,388 11,303

1,46,737 7,058

15,46,617 18,257

11,034 104

Uttar Pradesh

16,92,709 1,221

32,465 4,579

16,39,572 5,625

20,672 175

Delhi

14,26,863 623

10,178 862

13,92,386 1,423

24,299 62

West Bengal

13,85,801 9,424

78,613 8,435

12,91,510 17,722

15,678 137

Chhattisgarh

9,73,349 1,886

33,127 2,614

9,27,145 4,471

13,077 29

Rajasthan

9,40,960 1,002

37,477 5,177

8,95,033 6,114

8,450 65

Gujarat

8,10,730 1,561

29,015 3,330

7,71,860 4,869

9,855 22

Madhya Pradesh

7,81,108 1,078

20,303 3,087

7,52,693 4,120

8,112 45

Odisha

7,73,732 8,735

78,914 2,397

6,92,027 11,095

2,791 37

Haryana

7,57,868 1,233

16,280 2,300

7,33,205 3,453

8,383 80

Bihar

7,07,935 1,174

14,251 1,985

6,88,462 3,100

5,222 59

Telangana

5,80,844 2,493

33,254 830

5,44,294 3,308

3,296 15

Punjab

5,69,756 2,149

33,444 2,989

5,21,663 5,039

14,649 99

Assam

4,15,898 4,682

52,680 361

3,59,802 4,992

3,416 51

Jharkhand

3,38,383 609

8,058 849

3,25,325 1,449

5,000 9

Uttarakhand

3,30,475 981

27,216 1,155

2,96,762 2,091

6,497 45

Jammu And Kashmir

2,92,360 1,895

33,276 1,819

2,55,145 3,682

3,939 32

Himachal Pradesh

1,91,251 921

12,407 1,214

1,75,663 2,097

3,181 38

Goa

1,56,569 903

11,867 896

1,42,031 1,777

2,671 22

Puducherry

1,05,432 979

10,709 438

93,173 1,403

1,550 14

Chandigarh

60,154 108

1,481 286

57,915 389

758 5

Tripura

52,545 571

6,248 299

45,772 864

525 6

Manipur

51,549 798

8,942 151

41,782 629

825 18

Meghalaya

36,065 467

6,606 307

28,867 760

592 14

Arunachal Pradesh

27,642 370

3,772 17

23,754 352

116 1

Nagaland

21,854 174

4,725 209

16,744 374

385 9

Ladakh

18,750 88

1,581 33

16,979 120

190 1

Sikkim

15,626 309

3,992 29

11,377 334

257 4

Mizoram

12,634 235

3,243 98

9,347 133

44 4

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,300 14

285 40

10,011 54

4

Lakshadweep

8,166 89

1,567 235

6,566 324

33

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,018 13

155 16

6,745 26

118 3





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