Govt issues guidelines for treatment of Black Fungus in children

Do not wait for culture results to initiate therapy as mucormycosis is an emergency, said the DGHS in its guidelines.

Govt issues guidelines for treatment of Black Fungus in children
An ophthalmologist checks a patient for Black Fungus symptoms at an eye hospital in Bhopal. (PC:PTI)

The Director-General of Health Services under the Union Health Ministry released fresh guidelines for the treatment of mucormycosis which is also known as black fungus in children who are below 18 years old. This comes at a time when experts are warning about the possible third wave of COVID-19 which is likely to affect the children.

“Do not wait for culture results to initiate therapy as mucormycosis is an emergency. Early complete surgical debridements are the cornerstone of treatment and it may be required,” the DGHS guidelines said.

DGHS said Black Fungus is a serious fungal disease that is commonly seen in patients who have underlying or predisposing factors. The health conditions DGHS warned about are immunosuppression, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, misuse or overuse of steroids, cancer, organ/stem cell transportation, and those who underwent prolonged ICU treatment.

How do patients get Black Fungus?

Black Fungus is caused by a group of microorganisms or molds called mucormycetes. The fungi, which causes fungus, generally live in the environment like soil, decaying organic matter, compost piles, leaves of rotten wood, decaying fruits and vegetables. The fungi are also found inside the nose and mucus of healthy people. Patients usually catch Black Fungus when they come in contact with it. Presently the black fungus is occurring during the third week of COVID-19 symptoms.

Common symptoms of Black Fungus

Headaches and swelling in the forehead, black crusts around the nose, and blurred vision or vision loss are common symptoms. People with Black Fungus also experience respiratory complications such as chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath.

Several children in the country have contracted Black Fungus during the second wave of COVID-19.