A mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus”, made headlines after a health meltdown in India of patients who contracted the disease after having Covid-19. Although rare, the infection can maim and kill patients, making treatment expensive.
The drugs used to fight it can exceed R$ 10 thousand per day. In general, discounting surgeries and hospitalizations, the costs just for medicines can be more than R$ 450. Generally, coverage is provided by the Unified Health System (SUS) or by the patient's health plan. The information was provided by columnist Mônica Bergamo, for Folha de S.Paulo.
"Black fungus" in the world
The disease is growing exponentially in India, having reached almost 9 patients with Covid-19 in the country. A healthy immune system can usually deal with the fungus without symptoms appearing. However, patients who are vulnerable due to treatment against the coronavirus are more likely to be infected by the pathogen, which kills more than 50% of those affected.
São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Manaus (AM) also have suspected cases of “black fungus”. A patient from Campo Grande (MS) died with suspicion of the disease. Mucormycosis is a rare infection caused by exposure to mucus mold that is commonly found in decaying soil, plants, manure, fruits and vegetables. The fungus is present almost everywhere in the world, but it rarely causes complications.
In addition to Covid-19, other factors can influence the infection by the pathogen, such as diabetes, being a carrier of onco-hematological diseases (such as leukemia) and even using corticosteroids in high doses. However, the hospital reported that the man diagnosed in São Paulo does not have any of these comorbidities associated with mucormycosis.
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In a recent interview with Olhar Digital, Marcelo Simão, from the Brazilian Society of Infectology (SBI), explained that the chances of Brazil are low suffer from Mucormycosis in the same way as India. “It also appears a lot in those undergoing treatment for leukemia, diabetics, transplants. In general, in people with a weaker immune system. Drugs to fight Covid-19, hospitalization, all of this favors the emergence of the fungus,” he said.
“It was really a surprise that this fungus is spreading this way in India. But it seems to be something particularly from there, which has always had many cases of mucormycosis. I don't think Brazil runs any risk of that kind," added the expert.
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