Mucormycosis cases among Covid-19 patients in India are rising daily. However, epidemiologists on May 25 advised people to not get panicked by the colour of the fungus causing it and underlined the importance of analysing the kind of infection, its causes and associated risk-factors.
Dr Samiran Panda, the Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the use of “terms like black, green or yellow fungus” is making people scared and apprehensive.
Also, black fungus getting synonymous with existing mucormycosis is complicating things, he said.
Talking to media he told, “I will say not to be driven by panic by colour — black, yellow, white. Let us find what kind of fungal infection is the person infected with as most fungal infections that cause fatal or severe disease are invasive fungal infection so that can occur when there is reduction or compromise in immunity.”
“So basic underlying phenomenon is immunity or the ability to fight the fungal infection,” he said.
“Labelling the same fungus with names of different colours can create confusion. Mucormycosis is not a communicable disease, unlike COVID-19. About 90-95 per cent of patients getting infected with mucormycosis are found to have been either diabetic and/or taking steroids. This infection is seen very rarely in those who are neither diabetic nor taking steroids,” he added.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria has also said that it is better to identify mucormycosis by its name rather than by the colour.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on May 24 had said that 18 states have reported 5,424 cases of mucormycosis.