Black Fungus Disease - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Black Fungus Disease - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Black Fungus Disease - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Black fungus disease is a fungal infection caused by the Mucormycetes group of fungi. This fungal infection is a rare and serious infection. Even so, black fungus disease is not transmitted between humans

A person can get black mold disease when inhaling or ingesting Mucormycetes mold spores. This condition is more risky in people who have weak immune systems or are suffering from a disease. In addition, this fungus can also infect the skin through open wounds, such as burns.

Black Fungus Disease - Alodokter

Black fungus disease or mucormycosis causes infection in the part of the body that is first entered. After that, this fungal infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the eyes, skin, and brain. If not treated immediately, this condition can be fatal.

Causes of Black Fungus Disease

Mucormycetes fungi are a group of fungi that are often found in decomposing organic matter, such as animal manure, rotting wood, compost heaps, and vegetables and fruit. Therefore, this group of fungi is difficult for humans to avoid in daily life.

There are several types of Mucormycetes fungi that usually cause black fungus disease, namely:

  • Rhizopus arrhizus
  • Mucor
  • Cunninghamella bertholletiae
  • Syncephalastrum
  • Apophysomyces
  • Lichtheimia
  • Rhizomucor pusillus

Mucormycetes fungal infection or mucormycosis starts from spores that enter the body or contaminate open wounds. After attaching to the tissues of the human body, the spores of this fungus will grow into hyphae (a more complex fungal structure) and attack the tissue.

Furthermore, black fungus disease can cause a number of conditions depending on the location of the infection. Here are some examples:

  • If the spores stick to the walls of the nose or sinuses, hyphae can develop and erode the surrounding bone. After that, the hyphae can spread to the eyes and brain (rhinocerebral-orbital mucormycosis).
  • If the spores are inhaled and enter the lungs, hyphae can grow on the surface of the lungs and close the oxygen exchange sites.
  • If the spores stick to an open wound, the hyphae can cause skin diseases.
  • If it gets into the blood vessels, the hyphae of the Mucormycetes fungus can cause blockage of blood vessels and cause tissue damage or death.

Risk factors for black fungus disease

Black fungus disease can happen to anyone. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of getting black fungus disease, namely:

  • Suffering from diabetes, especially those that are not well controlled
  • Suffering from HIV/AIDS
  • Has an open wound, such as a burn or a scratch
  • Suffering from cancer
  • Undergoing an organ transplant or stem-cell therapy
  • Undergoing peritoneal dialysis
  • Inpatient in hospital
  • Consuming drugs that can weaken the immune system
  • Experiencing metabolic acidosis
  • Suffering from malnutrition or malnutrition
  • Has hemochromatosis
  • Suffering from COVID-19

Symptoms of Black Fungus Disease

Symptoms of black fungus disease can vary, depending on the part of the body that is attacked. The following are the symptoms of black fungus disease that can occur:

1. Black fungus disease of the nose and sinuses

Common symptoms that appear when black fungus disease attacks the nose or sinuses are fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, and nausea. In addition, black fungus disease in the nose and sinuses can also cause other complaints, such as:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Nosebleed
  • Hyposmia or anosmia
  • Colds with greenish-yellow mucus that gradually turn black
  • Nose numbness
  • Swelling in the eyes or face
  • Darkness on the bridge of the nose or upper mouth that can spread quickly and get worse

Black fungus disease in the nose can spread to the eyes and brain (rhinocerebral-orbital mucormycosis). Signs that the fungus has spread to the eye can range from protruding eyes, double vision, to blindness.

Usually, the spread of black fungus on the eyes will be followed by a decrease in consciousness and muscle weakness in the face or body. This condition indicates that the fungus has spread to the brain.

2. Black fungus disease in the lungs

Symptoms of black fungus disease that attack the lungs include:

  • Fever
  • Cough that can worsen and become coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in chest

Black fungal disease in the lungs can spread to the chest wall. This condition is characterized by chest skin swelling, redness, then turning black.

3. Black fungal disease on the skin

Black fungus on the skin can occur on any surface of the skin. Although initially only in one area, this infection can spread more quickly.

The symptoms of black fungus on the skin are initially the same as the symptoms of cellulitis, namely:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmness
  • Blisters or open sores

Over time, the skin can experience tissue death due to the spread of fungi to the skin's blood vessels. It is characterized by a change in skin color to blackish.

4. Black fungus disease in the digestive tract

If it attacks the digestive tract, black fungus disease can cause symptoms that vary and are difficult to distinguish from other diseases. Some signs and symptoms that can appear, in the form of:

  • stomach ache
  • Bloated
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding in the digestive system, which causes bloody stools
  • Diarrhea

5. Disseminated black fungus disease

Disseminated black fungus disease generally occurs in someone who already has another disease or has a very weak immune system. This type of black fungus disease spreads through the bloodstream and attacks several organs of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, or bones.

The symptoms that occur can vary greatly, depending on the affected organ. For example, black fungus disease can attack the heart valves and cause endocarditis or it can attack the bones and cause osteomyelitis.

When to see a doctor

Go to the doctor immediately if you experience the above symptoms, especially if you have a weak immune system or suffer from certain diseases.

Early examination is very necessary to prevent complications and fatal consequences that can result from black fungus disease.

Diagnosing Black Fungus Disease

The doctor will ask and answer questions about the complaints experienced, medical history, and medicines consumed by the patient. The doctor will also ask whether the patient was exposed to the Mucormycetes fungus before experiencing symptoms. After that, the doctor will do a physical examination.

Black fungus disease is difficult to diagnose. Therefore, the doctor will carry out further examinations to confirm this disease. These checks include:

  • KOH test, to detect the presence of Mucormycetes fungus on the skin by taking samples from the skin with symptoms of infection
  • Biopsies, to detect fungal growth by taking samples from infected tissue
  • Fungal culture, to identify the type of fungus that infects the body
  • Imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to determine the spread of infection to other organs of the body

Black Fungus Disease Treatment

Treatment of black fungus disease needs to be done quickly to prevent tissue damage that cannot be treated. The following is a treatment method for black fungus disease patients:


The doctor will give you antifungal medication to stop the growth of the fungus and to eliminate and control the infection.

At the beginning of treatment, antifungal drugs will be given through a high dose infusion. If the situation improves, the patient will be given antifungal drugs in pill form.

Some antifungal drugs that can be given are:

  • Amphotericin B
  • Isavuconazole
  • Posaconazole


In severe cases, doctors may perform surgery to remove infected or dead tissue. This is so that the black fungus disease does not spread more widely and infect other organs.

Black Fungus Disease Complications

If not treated immediately, black fungus disease can spread quickly throughout the body. As a result, sufferers can experience serious complications, such as:

  • Blindness
  • Meningitis
  • nerve damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain abscess
  • Seizure
  • Comma
  • Tearing of the digestive tract and peritonitis

Black Fungus Disease Prevention

Black fungus disease is difficult to prevent, especially if you have a weak immune system or suffer from certain conditions. However, you can reduce your risk of getting black fungus disease by doing the following ways:

  • Avoid areas with too much dust or dirt, such as excavation or construction sites. If you can't avoid the location, wear a mask properly.
  • Avoid direct contact with flooded or damaged buildings after a flood.
  • Avoid activities where there is a risk of direct contact with soil or dust, such as gardening. If this is not possible, wear personal protection, such as gloves, a mask, and clothing that covers the body, when doing these activities.
  • Clean and bandage the wound regularly until it heals if you have a wound on the body.

Black Fungus Disease and COVID-19

Please note, black fungus disease can be a secondary infection (infection that appears due to other infections) in someone who has been infected with COVID-19. Based on research, the majority of COVID-19 sufferers who are infected with black fungus are diabetics.

Black fungus disease can also occur in patients with COVID-19 due to the use of high doses of corticosteroids with antibiotics. This can weaken the immune system and disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the body. As a result, patients are susceptible to other infections such as black fungus disease.

Based on this, WHO recommends steps to prevent black fungus in patients with COVID-19, namely:

  • Control and monitor blood sugar levels in COVID-19 patients suffering from diabetes
  • Monitoring the use of corticosteroid drugs in COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms
  • Reducing unnecessary consumption of antibiotics and antifungals
  • Sterilization of equipment used for maintenance
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the surrounding environment

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