Pakistani Doctor Warns of Black Fungus Among COVID-19 Patients

The use of substandard and poorly-cleaned oxygen cylinders may result in the spread of Black Fungus disease among COVID-19 patients, an ENT doctor at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Peshawar, has warned.

In a letter to the Board of Governors (BoG) of KTH, the ENT doctor penned that 12 cases of Sinusitis, one of the early symptoms of Black Fungus in which severe sinus pain is caused by the inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses, have been reported in the last two months.


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Of these, 2 patients had contract Black Fungus from insanitary oxygen cylinders while recovering from COVID-19 infection.

The ENT doctor also called on the BoG of KTH to ensure oxygen cylinders are properly cleaned to remove the spores of Black Fungus from their bases.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary KP, Imtiaz Hussain Shah, has ordered the provincial health department to ensure complete cleansing of all the oxygen cylinders at both public and private hospitals across the province.

Black Fungus is a rare but fatal fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. The infection affects COVID-19 patients with underlying health issues such as diabetes and who have a prolonged ICU stay.


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Early symptoms of mucormycosis include sinus pain or nasal blockage on one side of the face, one-sided headache, swelling or numbness, toothache, and loosening of teeth.

Black Fungus leads to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, and coughing blood. These symptoms of mucormycosis are strongly linked with diabetes which can be exacerbated by the use of steroids used to treat severe COVID-19 such as dexamethasone.