'Black fungus spreading in coronavirus patients through substandard oxygen cylinders': health expert

Special care should be taken while filling oxygen into cylinders, says Dr Arif Raza

Sheeba Haider

Khyber Teaching Hospital's ENT chief Dr Arif Raza has said mucormycosis, also known as "black fungus", is spreading among several coronavirus patients as they were using substandard and used old oxygen cylinders.

In a letter written to the hospital's administration, the health expert said in the last two months, 12 patients underwent sinus surgeries, and out of them, two were infected with "black fungus" during their COVID-19 recovery.

The letter said the fungus was found at the bottom of the oxygen cylinders due to lack of cleanliness. 

"Special care should be taken while filling oxygen into cylinders."

The health expert, speaking to Geo News on Thursday, said the fungus was infecting patients who were suffering from coronavirus. "If oxygen cylinders given to COVID-19 patients are not cleaned regularly, spores of black fungus will settle in them."

Dr Raza said the water of the chamber through which the gas is transferred into the cylinder should also be purified intermittently.

The health expert said most people living in damp and agricultural areas suffer from black fungus, adding it spreads in the body as a result of untimely treatment.

According to infectious diseases experts, mucormycosis is a lethal fungal infection found in some serious COVID-19 patients with uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay.