Mucormycosis – Sri Lanka

A patient infected with mucormycosis or black fungus has been reported in Ampara, Sri Lanka.

Hospitals in the area fear that the presence of this fungal infection would escalate the number of COVID patients and also the deaths related to COVID.

This fungus is not new to Sri Lanka. 42 cases were officially reported in 2019, 24 in 2020, and 24 in 2021 up to May. However, none of these previous cases had been associated with COVID-19 infections up to now.

Sri Lanka has the correct environmental factors for this fungal species to thrive and it is commonly present in soil samples.

Please consider donating, to keep our safety stocks of Amphotericin B for treating this complication supplied. We send these when healthcare facilities run out. Shortages of this drug are bound to happen and mean death and amputations for those infected.

Photo: Mucor fungus species.

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection. Generally, species in the Mucor, Rhizopus, Absidia, and Cunninghamella genera are most often implicated.

Common sources of infections are from soil and damp walls on old buildings.

It can infect the sinuses and brain, lungs, skin and digestive tract. The infection in some cases also spreads through the bloodstream where it can result in the formation of blood clots and tissue death in the surrounding areas.

Mostly mucormycosis occurs with underlying conditions such as diabetes, HIV, lymphomas kidney failure and immunosuppressive therapy. However, in some cases infection is reported without any predisposing factors present.

It has been reported in association with COVID-19 and may be caused by treatment with corticosteroids.

It is a very rare infection. Hospital outbreaks are a risk where infection can spread through contaminated hospital linen.

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