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Declare mucormycosis an epidemic, Centre tells States

Context:

The Union government has asked the States to declare mucormycosis, the fungal infection being reported in COVID-19 patients, an epidemic.

An infection called white fungus or Candidiasis has also been found to affect some people and Covid-19 patients are more prone to white fungus as it affects the lungs and similar symptoms are created like that of coronavirus.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology, GS-II: Social Justice (Health related issues)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic?
  2. About Black Fungus
  3. About White Fungus

What is Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic?

  1. Endemic: a disease that exists permanently in a particular region or population. Malaria is a constant worry in parts of Africa.
  2. Epidemic: An outbreak of disease that attacks many peoples at about the same time and may spread through one or several communities.
  3. Pandemic: When an epidemic spreads throughout the world.
  4. Sporadic: Refers to a disease that occurs infrequently and irregularly.

About Black Fungus

  • Mucormycosis, also known colloquially as “black fungus”, a rare but serious fungal infection, is being detected relatively frequently in Covid-19 patients across India.
  • It is caused by a group of moulds (fungus) known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment.
  • It mainly affects people who are on medication for health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens, say experts from the Covid-19 task force task force.
  • Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after they inhale fungal spores from the air.
  • Warning signs include pain and redness around the eyes or nose, with fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits, and altered mental status.
  • While it is treated with antifungals, mucormycosis may eventually require surgery. Doctors have said that it is of utmost importance to control diabetes, reduce steroid use, and discontinue immunomodulating drugs.

About White Fungus

  • White Fungus or Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. The most common species that causes infection is Candida albicans.
  • Candida normally lives on the skin and inside the body, in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, without causing any problems.
  • Candida can cause infections if it grows out of control or if it enters deep into the body (for example, the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, or brain).
  • This infection can be caused due to low immunity, or if people come in contact with things that contain these moulds like water, etc.
  • Children and women are more at risk of contracting the fungal infection.
  • Like the black fungus, white fungus is also more likely to afflict people with compromised immune systems, pre-existing medical conditions, AIDS, a recent kidney transplant or diabetes.
  • People experience symptoms similar to Covid if it reaches the lungs such as chest infection, despite testing negative for the virus.
  • White fungus affects the lungs as well as other parts of the body including the nails, skin, stomach, kidney, brain, private parts and mouth.

-Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

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