Fungal infections are a serious threat to human health. While most people have heard of fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm, they may not know that some fungi can cause life-threatening illnesses in humans. One such infection is mucormycosis, which has been reported in every area of the world and is caused by several different types of fungi. While most people with mucormycosis don’t die from this illness—so understanding what causes it and how it’s treated is essential to protecting yourself from this disease.
Healthcare professionals can benefit from understanding mucormycosis and its impact on health to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of patients affected by this serious fungal infection.
Mucormycosis is a serious infection caused by a fungus.
Mucormycosis is a serious infection caused by a fungus. It can affect the skin, nails, lungs, sinuses, and gastrointestinal tract. Mucormycosis in humans is rare, but when it does occur, it’s usually fatal if not treated promptly.
What causes mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis is caused by a fungus called zygomycetes. Fungi are different from bacteria, which are more common and cause most infections. The most common type of mucormycosis is caused by Rhizopus oryzae, a mold that grows on food and causes the disease in people who eat it. Rarely other types of zygomycetes can infect the sinuses (sinusitis), lungs (pneumonia), brain, liver, or other organs in your body.
What are the symptoms of mucormycosis?
- Night sweats
- Malaise (feeling unwell)
- White patches on the tongue or inside cheek areas
- Cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain are also common symptoms. Other signs include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache. Weakness may occur as well.
These can be seen via an examination done by an ear, nose, throat specialist.
How is mucormycosis treated?
Mucormycosis is a life-threatening disease that requires immediate treatment. Treatment depends on the type of fungus causing the infection and how far along it has progressed in your body.
- Antifungal medications: These drugs are often used in combination therapy, which involves several medications simultaneously. Antifungal drugs include amphotericin B, caspofungin, micafungin, and voriconazole (and its generic versions). Your doctor will likely prescribe an antifungal medication tailored to your specific condition based on factors such as how long you’ve been sick or whether other infections are present simultaneously.
- Rehydration: You may need IV fluids (a liquid solution given through an intravenous tube) if you have severe diarrhea caused by mucormycosis.
- IV antibiotics: Some fungi can be killed only by antibiotics that aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream but instead go directly into areas needed inside cells or tissues. If your doctor prescribes these types of antibiotics–such as ampicillin/sulbactam–it means they think there’s reason to believe this kind might help treat your infection better than others would because it targets certain kinds of bacteria found in certain areas within infected tissue rather than just attacking any kind indiscriminately all over everywhere all at once as some other types might do instead.
Surgical debridement may be required to remove infected tissue.
Surgical debridement is a procedure to remove infected tissue. It can be used to treat many different types of infections, including mucormycosis.
Surgical debridement aims to remove all infected tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact. Surgical debridement is usually done by removing dead or dying tissue from an area with a sharp instrument like a scalpel or scissors and then cleaning up the remaining debris with sterile gauze pads or cotton swabs soaked in disinfectant solution (antiseptic). The surgeon may also use lasers or pulsed light sources during surgery that help kill bacteria but don’t damage living cells as much as traditional surgical tools do
Mucormycosis is a serious infection caused by a fungus. It can affect many body parts, including the skin, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Mucormycosis can lead to death if not treated quickly with antifungal drugs or surgery.
Mucormycosis and its impact on health are of growing concern, particularly among immunocompromised individuals, highlighting the need for increased awareness, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment of this rare but life-threatening infection.
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