After black fungus, white fungus cases reported in Bihar amid COVID-19

White fungus, also known as ‘candidiasis’ has been found in 4 patients in Patna; it is considered deadlier than black fungus

By Mohd Imran Khan
Published: Thursday 20 May 2021

Four cases of ‘white fungus’ or ‘candidiasis’ have been detected at the government-run Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) May 19, 2021 in Bihar, health officials said.

White fungus is considered to be more dangerous than black fungus or mucormycosis. Bihar is already reeling under the second wave of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and subsequently, black fungus.

Health experts said white fungus affected the lungs as well as other parts of the body including the nails, skin, stomach, kidney, brain, private parts and mouth.

They pointed that white fungus also caused an infection similar to COVID-19 in the lungs that was detected when high-resolution computed tomography was performed on the infected patient.

The four patients with white fungus had displayed COVID-19-like symptoms. But they were not found to be COVID-19 positive after being tested. Instead, white fungus was detected, SN Singh, head, microbiology department, PMCH.

“After the white fungus was detected, the patients were treated with antifungal medicines and have since shown improvement in their condition,” Singh said.

Another PMCH doctor said the oxygen saturation level of one of the four patients detected with white fungus dropped from normal levels. However, after being treated with antifungal medicines, the oxygen level reached 95.

“That patient was a doctor himself, who was admitted to a private hospital after showing symptoms of COVID-19. He tested negative for COVID-19 but his lung was infected. Hence, a close relative approached us and brought him here. We conducted some tests and detected white fungus,” the PMCH doctor said.

All patients who are found to be infected with white fungus should be examined carefully, with a fungus culture test of their phlegm or mucus to detect fungal infection in their body, a health department official said.

COVID-19 cases have decreased in Bihar recently, according to state government data. Some 140,102 samples were tested in the state May 19, of which 6,059 came out positive.

The number of positive cases have also declined. There were 58,610 such cases May 19, down from 115,000 late last month.

The state’s recovery rate has increased to 90.64 per cent from 77 per cent last month. The positivity rate has declined to nearly 4 per cent from 14 per cent earlier this month.

Doctors and health officials in Bihar were worried about rising cases of mucormycosis being reported in the state, even as COVID-19 cases began to decline.

Black fungus cases were detected in more than 100 COVID-19 patients including 34 detected on May 19. All of them had recovered from COVID-19 across Bihar in the last one week, officials said.

Those diagnosed with black fungus were being treated in hospitals such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna, PMCH and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

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