Amid rising cases of mucormycosis or black fungus infections, an 80-year-old man, who had recovered from Covid-19 died by suicide in Ahmedabad over fears of contracting the fungal infection.
The victim took his life by consuming pesticide on the terrace of his apartment on Thursday soon after he developed mouth sores, one of the symptoms of black fungus infections. He died at a private hospital while undergoing treatment on Saturday, officials said.
According to the police, he was not diagnosed with mucormycosis but in his suicide note he mentioned that he was taking his life because he feared he might have the fungal infection and he didn’t want to undergo any further suffering.
"The man was scared as he learnt that the black fungus mostly targets those who had contracted coronavirus and people having diabetes. He also mentioned (in the suicide note) that the treatment may not yield any result and he would suffer due to that infection in future," Paldi police station's inspector J M Solanki said, based on the suicide note and statements of his family members.
According to police, the victim used to live with his wife at the Aman Apartments in Paldi area of the city.
The victim was from a well-off family and his fear was more psychological than about his financial condition and the ability to pay for the treatment, the official said.
The police have registered an accidental death report and are conducting further probe into the incident, he added.
Black fungus is caused by fungus Mucor and one can get infected by it after coming in contact with Mucor spores present in the environment or by coming in contact with an infected surface such as key medical equipment used for Covid treatment like oxygen cylinders.
The main symptoms of black fungus are-- Nasal blockage, facial or cheekbone pain, blackish and foul-smelling nasal discharge, congestion or redness and swelling of eyes and nose and impaired vision.
While black fungus infections were prevalent even before the pandemic, their cases have spiked since the second Covid wave.
To prevent black fungus infection in Covid-19 patients doctors suggest better control of the sugar levels during COVID with or without steroids, judicious use of steroids observing correct timing, correct dose and correct duration, use of clean or sterile water for humidifiers during the oxygen therapy.
(With PTI inputs)