A patient diagnosed with mucormycosis or black fungus – a rare fungal infection – was admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) recently.
The 45-year-old man, who came from Khulna with post Covid-19 complications, has been taking treatment at DMCH for a week, said Dr Forhad Uddin Hasan Chowdhury, registrar of the internal medicine department.
"We suspected fungal infection as the patient was suffering from headache, sinusitis, and complications in the right eye," he said.
His samples were sent for fungal tests after he underwent a sinus operation and the test results confirmed black fungus, the doctor said.
"The patient's condition is stable now and he has been given Amphotericin B, an antifungal medication. Hopefully, he will recover shortly," Dr Forhad said.
On 25 May, Bangladesh officially reported its maiden black fungus case. The patient has been undergoing treatment at Dhaka's Birdem General Hospital. The 53-year-old man from the south-western district of Satkhira recently recovered from Covid-19.
Doctors suspect that another 65-year-old, who died three days ago at the same hospital, might have been infected by black fungus.
The disease is not infectious, which means it cannot be passed from a person to another person or an animal to another animal. However, it is transmitted by fungal spores in the air or in the environment, which are almost difficult to prevent.
Data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention show that black fungus has a mortality rate of 54%, which can vary depending on the condition of the patient and the body part affected.
Doctors say patients with diabetes and cancer, those taking chemotherapy for cancer, or any immunocompromised person can be infected with black fungus. They advocate for being more cautious in steroid and other life-saving drug usages for Covid-19 treatment.
Dr Forhad said recovering coronavirus patients with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to the fungal infection. "The use of steroids and tocilizumab often leads to weaker immunity."