20 May 2021: After black fungus, 4 'white fungus' cases emerge in Patna
In the past few days, four cases of a "white fungus" have been detected in Bihar's Patna, leading to fresh worries.
The disease has symptoms similar to COVID-19, but the same can be differentiated using tests for the virus.
Earlier on Wednesday, the city had reported 19 new cases of "black fungus," a rare but potentially fatal fungal infection.
Here are more details.
Disease: What is candidiasis or 'white fungus'?
"White fungus" or candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast named Candida.
It commonly infects the lungs but it may also affect the skin, nails, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, groin, or brain. If left untreated, it can even cause death.
A weaker immunity, diabetes, antibiotic use, prolonged steroid use, cancer treatment, etc., can reportedly increase the risk of infection.
Patna: 4 cases detected in Patna; symptoms similar to COVID-19
Dr. SN Singh, the head of the Microbiology department at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), told Bhaskar that four cases of candidiasis were reported where the symptoms were similar to COVID-19.
The patients had tested negative for COVID-19 and recovered only after anti-fungal treatment.
According to the Bhaskar report, the four cases included a renowned surgeon from Patna.
Similarities: CT scans of candidiasis and COVID-19 cases similar
Reportedly, high-resolution CT (HRCT) scans of patients with the "white fungus" are similar to scans from COVID-19 patients (ground-glass opacities or GGOs are found in both cases).
This can be differentiated by conducting RT-PCR tests to ascertain if the patient is positive or negative for COVID-19.
To confirm a fungal infection, a sputum culture must be conducted, the report stated.
Precautions: How can infections be prevented?
According to Bhaskar, COVID-19 patients on oxygen support also remain at risk of contracting this disease.
To prevent infections, oxygen or ventilator equipment, including the tubes, must be sterilized.
Sterilized water must be used for the humidifier while using oxygen cylinders.
This will ensure that the oxygen reaching the patient's lungs is not laden with the fungus or other pathogens.
Fact: Sanitation important, says pulmonologist
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr. Arunesh Kumar—the head of department at Paras Chest Institute and senior pulmonologist at Paras Hospital, Gurugram—advised that sanitation is important, adding that "white fungus" cases are more dangerous than black fungus or mucormycosis.
Also see: Centre asks states to declare 'black fungus' an epidemic
Black fungus in India: Which states have been affected?
Black fungus has been declared a notified disease in Haryana
Read more on India by NewsBytes.