Muscat: All three of the patients in Oman who have contracted black fungus suffer from COVID-19, and are also diabetic, said an infectious disease and control consultant at the Ministry of Health.
Dr Zakaria Al Balushi, an infectious disease consultant at the Royal Hospital, added that the black fungus is not contagious, nor does it affect those who have high immunity. “It affects people who have certain issues with their immunity, as well as those whose immunity is weak,” he said.
Oman’s Ministry of Health has also confirmed that the black fungus is a rare kind of infection that affects people with low immunity, and may cause serious complications if not treated in time. It affects the sinuses lungs, after airborne fungal spores are inhaled by people.
It can also form on the skin after wounds, burns and other injuries occur. Symptoms of black fungus include blackening of the skin around the nose, poor vision, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.
“Black fungus is not transmitted from person to person, or between people and animals,” added the Ministry of Health. Speaking to Oman TV, Dr Amal Saif Al Ma’ani, another infectious disease and control specialist, added that all three of the patients were between the ages of 45 and 65.
“The cause of infection is not related to the hospital environment in which they were treated, rather, they presented with this infection when they were still at home,” she said.
“It is normal for some COVID patients to be infected with black fungus, as most of them need special care in hospitals.
“When we see severe cases of COVID-19, it is often because their immunity is affected, and this includes these patients with diabetes, who are more affected by exposure to black fungus,” added Al Ma’ani.
The second reason for the spread of black fungus is the treatment system used on some COVID patients in the Indian subcontinent.
“The treatment of COVID has led to the suppression of their immune systems, and because COVID-19 is an emerging disease, we still do not know how exactly it affects the immune system,” she added.
“When it comes to patients with COVID-19, the disease may weaken their immunity, and will make them more susceptible to black fungus.”
Infection by black fungus has been medically known since 1885. It can be treated with antifungals, and is not part of the COVID-19 mutation.