COVID-19 patient succumbs to ‘black fungus’ in Assam

Assam, May 19: Assam reported its first death due to mucormycosis or black fungus in Guwahati on Wednesday morning.

27-year-old Polomoni Bora, who succumbed to the rare infection at Apollo Hospital in Guwahati, was a resident of Nagaon district.

Earlier on May 6, Bora tested positive for COVID-19 at the Dhing FRU and was referred to Nagaon for treatment. Later, on testing negative for the coronavirus, he was sent home.

However, when his health deteriorated again, he was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Guwahati on May 15.

The patient breathed his last at the hospital at 6 AM on Wednesday.

Sources said that this Assam patient had contracted mucormycosis, which is also known as a black fungus. However, no official declaration was made by the hospital administration till the filing of this report.

Black fungus is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of moulds called ‘mucormycetes’. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, these live throughout the environment, particularly in soil and in decaying organic matter, such as leaves, compost piles, or rotten wood.

It can affect areas from where it can be inhaled — through the nose, sinus or lungs. If it enters from a wound or skin, it can cause local infection, but it can affect the eyes and the brain if it enters from the sinus.

According to some reports, it can affect one in 10 lakh people but what’s worrying is that it has an overall mortality rate of 50 per cent.

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It can be potentially life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, say reports.

Meanwhile, on May 16, Union minister Nitin Gadkari took to Twitter to share his concern about black fungus and create awareness about the rare infection.