Mexico reports first case of black fungus in recovering COVID patient
Mexico has reported what is believed to be the nation’s first case of so-called “black fungus” in a recovering COVID-19 patient.
In a statement Thursday, Mexican Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo López-Gatell said a case of black fungus, also called mucormycosis, was detected in a 34-year-old male patient in Mexico state. The patient recovered from COVID-19.
The patient is reportedly in poor health due to the rapid spread of the infection and is at risk of losing an eye, according to the Mexican news agency The Herald of Saltillo.
López-Gatell said the case is “very sad” and pointed out that the cases affect people whose immune systems are weakened.
He tweeted Thursday evening, translated from Spanish: “Black fungus, or mucormycosis, is an aggressive and opportunistic infection in people with severe immunosuppression; it typically affects people with blood cancer during chemotherapy. Fortunately, it is rare.
“COVID-19 does not necessarily increase the risk of mucormycosis, but the overuse of steroids for treatment may be the cause of patients with SARS-CoV-2 virus getting this infection.”
El hongo negro o mucormicosis es una infección agresiva y oportunista en personas con inmunosupresión grave; típicamente afecta a personas con cánceres sanguíneos durante la quimioterapia. Afortunadamente es poco frecuente. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/k47xdniGkb
– Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez (@HLGatell) June 3, 2021
Mucormycosis reportedly occurred in COVID-19 patients in India.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls mucormycosis “serious but rare.” A review of published cases found an overall mortality rate of 54 percent, according to the CDC.
The disease is caused by fungal spores that live in the environment. It primarily affects people who come into contact with these spores at a time when the body’s immune system is weakened.
The CDC states that certain groups of people have a higher risk of contracting the disease than others. These include people with diabetes, cancer, people who have had organ or stem cell transplants, and people with neutropenia – a low white blood cell count.
Several reports have also pointed to the use of steroids as a possible driving force behind the spread of mucormycosis in India, as some types may help COVID-19 control. This is a brief summary.