While black fungus infection is caused by fungi Mucor, white fungus infection is caused by candida group of organisms and Covid patients with low immunity are prone to both diseases.
Even as cases of mucormycosis or black fungus infections rise across the country, reports of another fungal infection called white fungus have left many worried.
A 55-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh was one of the first Covid-recovered patients to be treated for white fungus. This incident was soon followed by four people in Bihar getting diagnosed with the same.
But what is white fungus and how is it different from black fungus infection?
While both the diseases are caused by fungi, they vary in terms of severity and the organs they attack.
Black fungus is caused by fungus Mucor and white fungus also known as candidiasis is caused by candida group of organisms.
Both the infections were reported long before the Covid outbreak, but the number of cases has suddenly increased since the onset of the second Covid wave.
One can get infected by either of these fungal infections when one comes in contact with their spores present in the environment or by coming in contact with an infected surface such as key medical equipment used for Covid treatment like oxygen cylinders.
The main symptoms of black fungus are– Nasal blockage, facial or cheekbone pain, blackish and foul-smelling nasal discharge, congestion or redness and swelling of eyes and nose and impaired vision.
Meanwhile, the main symptoms of white fungus are very similar to those of coronavirus. They include—low oxygen levels, chest pain and cough apart from whitish patches in the oral cavity, white discharge and skin lesions.
Is white fungus more dangerous than black fungus?
According to a report published by the Indian Express, yes. The reason being, white fungus can affect numerous vital organs of the body including the lungs, kidney, brain, private parts and mouth. According to reports, white fungus can also easily spread to children.
How to protect oneself from these diseases?
Both white fungus and black fungus are known to impact Covid-19 patients with low immunity.
To prevent black fungus infection in Covid-19 patients doctors suggest better control of the sugar levels during COVID with or without steroids, judicious use of steroids observing correct timing, correct dose and correct duration, use of clean or sterile water for humidifiers during the oxygen therapy.
According to the Indian Express, “proper sanitisation of ventilators/oxygen cylinders is the best way to prevent white fungus attack.”