July 25, 2021, 6:08 am

Staff Correspondent

2021-06-09 12:47:54 BdST

Govt making guidelines for treatment of black fungus

The government is now making guidelines for the treatment of mucormycosis as the black fungus has reportedly intruded into the country claiming the life a person.

Health experts said the black fungus can be resisted by maintaining health guidelines properly, including wearing masks.

“The subcommittee already has made a draft of the treatment guidelines for mucormycosis. They will place the guidelines before the clinical management committee of DGHS immediately. I hope the treatment guideline will be finalized this week,” Dr Md Robed Amin, spokesperson of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said.

According to the experts, the fungal disease, called mucormycosis, has a 50 per cent mortality rate. It affects patients initially in the nose but the fungus can then spread to the brain and can often only be treated by major surgery removing the eye or part of skull and jaw.

“Covid-19 patients who have diabetes and used excessive steroid may be infected with mucormycosis or black fungus. Wearing masks can resist the fungus. The Covid-19 patients have to wear masks to resist the fungal spores,” Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US, mucormycosis is rare, but it is more common among people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

“People get mucormycosis through contact with fungal spores in the environment. The lung or sinus forms of the infection can occur after someone inhales the spores from the air. A skin infection can occur after the fungus enters the skin through a scrape, burn, or other type of skin injury,” it said.

The US CDC further said it is difficult to avoid breathing in fungal spores because the fungi that cause mucormycosis are common in the environment.

There is no vaccine to prevent mucormycosis.

Bangladesh has reported two cases of black fungus in patients who have recovered from Covid-19. They were detected at BIRDEM hospital in the capital on May 8 and May 23, hospital sources said.

A black fungus patient died at the hospital recently.

The Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) collected samples of the patients to carry out examine to confirm whether the patients were infected with the black fungus.

IEDCR Director Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin said, “We haven’t yet got any confirmed case of black fungus in the country.”

The DGHS has recently sent letters to the authorities concerned of districts across the country, asking them to remain alert about the deadly black fungus.

“The immune system of a person becomes weak after getting infected with coronavirus and then mucormycosis may attack the patient. However, those who are not immunocompromised patients have nothing to worry about it,” Dr Zakir Hossain Habib, principal scientific officer of the Department of Microbiology at the IEDCR, said.

He said special attention has to be paid to the patients with immune compromise, including diabetes, and doctors have also to use steroid for the patients very carefully.

“No one should be panicked in any way over the black fungus. Awareness is a big tool to fight it. It’s a rare disease and there’s no information that it affects many people,” Dr Md Nazmul Islam, DGHS spokesperson, said at its health bulletin recently.

He said the black fungus may infect post-Covid-19 patients and it may be within two to three weeks.

“The Covid-19 patients who are taking treatment at home or returned home after taking treatment in hospitals have to consult doctors if they see any new change which was not seen earlier,” he said.

Nazmul Islam, also line director (CDC) of the DGHS, warned against the use of steroid and antibiotic medicines without prescription of doctors in a bid to avoid the black fungus.

Black fungus was recently announced as an epidemic in four states in India.

Just a few weeks after black fungus was terrifying people, reports of four cases of white fungus emerged in Patna. Reportedly, white fungus is more dangerous than the black fungus.

Doctors have also warned that delay in treatment can lead to death and so they must be taken with utmost seriousness, according to a report of the Times of India.

Meanwhile, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) formed a medical team comprising with specialized doctors of concerned different departments of the university including ophthalmology department, community ophthalmology department, ENT department and neurosurgery department, to provide the treatment for the Mucormycosis patients. A treatment corner for the mucormycosis patients also has been opened at the university.

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