A 55-year-old man who recovered from the coronavirus disease in Jabalpur has been diagnosed with the Aspergillus Flavus infection, or “white fungus”, making him the first patient with the infection in Madhya Pradesh, PTI reported on Saturday, citing a health official.

Dr Kavita Sachdeva, the ENT department head at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, said the “white fungus” or aspergillosis infection was detected in his nose on Friday. The operation was done on May 17 after his headache and eye pain did not subside, she said.

Dr Sachdeva said that the infection was curable and did not need an injection like mucormycosis, or “black fungus”. She also added that it was not as deadly as the “black fungus” infection, amid reports of multiple deaths due to the latter. Dr Sachdeva said that both infections affect people with uncontrolled sugar levels, adding that white fungus “is not rare and many people have been cured of it earlier”.

Besides Madhya Pradesh, at least four cases of “white fungus” have been reported in Bihar’s capital Patna, according to News18.

Dr Arunesh Kumar, senior consultant and head respiratory of medicine at Paras Hospital, told The Indian Express that white fungus can be caused due to low immunity or when people come in contact with things that contain moulds, such as water.

Dr Kumar said that often, some patients infected with “white fungus” have symptoms similar to the coronavirus but can test negative. He said that it can be diagnosed through X-ray or CT scans.

“Those who have weak immunity like diabetes, cancer patients, and those who are taking steroids for a long period of time must take special care as they are more at risk,” Dr Kumar told The Indian Express. “It is also affecting those coronavirus patients who are on oxygen support.”

Symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath and wheezing, and could also include fever.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said the state had 650 confirmed cases of “black fungus”.

More information on aspergillosis or ‘white fungus’ is available on the CDC and NHS websites.

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