Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection that is caused by the common fungi (found in soil and decaying vegetation) Mucor, Rhizopus absidia, Cunninghamella, Mortierella, Syncephalastrum, Saksenaea absidia and Cokeromyces. It primarily affects the brain, sinuses and lungs of those with a weak or suppressed immune system and those who are exposed to soil and decaying matter. In some cases Mucormycosis fungi also affects the gastrointestinal tract, skin, heart and maxilla of the person as well. The other name by which Mucormycosis is often known is Zygomycosis (without Entomophthorales).
Though dangerous with a high mortality rate of 50 percent to 85 percent, statistics released from the American Oncology Center show that only approximately 0.7 percent of the patients had the disease (1). Similarly, data from the Italian review center revealed that only 1 percent of acute leukemia patients had the condition (2). Latest figures on mortality by Mucormycosis can be accessed on the following Web site: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_zyg-mortality-zygomycosis.
What exactly does one get when they are afflicted with Mucormycosis? The symptoms are wide-ranging depending upon the type of fungus that has caused the infection and the part of the body it infects. I have provided a brief but comprehensive list below that will give you a fair idea of the symptoms of Mucormycosis. A patient may get one or more of these symptoms depending of the type the patient has contracted.
• Pain behind the eyes accompanied by swelling of the eye
• One-sided headaches
• Facial pain
• Black discharge from the nasal passage
• Blood in cough
• Severe sinusitis
• Nausea and vomiting
• Abdominal pain
• Laboured breathing
• Reddening and then blackening of skin
• Flank pain
• Seizures of brain, paralysis etc
• Disintegration of the mouth palate, eye socket and nasal passage
Luckily there are a number of tests that get a quick diagnosis on the condition that facilitate speedy treatment and recovery. Late diagnosis may result in disfiguration of the face. Sometimes a combination of tests may be used instead of a single test to reach a confirmatory diagnosis.