White fungus is a fungus that belongs to the Tremellaceae family. It has been used as a medicinal herb in Chinese medicine for centuries. But recent studies reveal that white fungus can cause death in humans and birds.
Other common names for white fungus are snow fungus, silver ear, snow ear, white wood ear, and white jelly mushroom.
In the hospital of the Indian city of Kolkata, a middle-aged man suffering from Covid-19 was admitted.
His condition deteriorated after few days, and he was administered a life-saving treatment.
And after few days of examination, doctors discovered that he was infected with deadly, drug-resistant fungus.
“We are seeing an increased number of patients with the infection during the second Covid-19 wave. This is because many sick people are in the ICUs, and many are on high steroid doses. So that could be the reason,” reported Dr. Om Srivastava, a Mumbai-based infectious diseases specialist.
Candida Auris (C. Auris) was discovered a little over a decade, and it is one of the world’s most feared hospital microbes. This microbe has a mortality rate of 70%, and it is a bloodstream infection that is the most frequently detected germ in critical-care units around the world.
At first black fungus, after breaking hell in India, caused an epidemic in Egypt. Now, doctors are reporting a rise in other deadly fungal infections in Covid-19 patients. Studies revealed that white fungus is more dangerous than black fungus.
Along with white fungus, other fungi are also associated with causing death among living organisms. For example, Auris and Albicans are two species of Candida fungi, while aspergillus is another fungus that affects the lungs, and long-term exposure to it can result in death.
According to studies, Candida and Aspergillus are the two major groups that cause death in humans, and they are the deadliest fungus among more than five million types of fungi.
Candida is a fungus commonly present on many surfaces, like shower curtains, computer screens, doctor’s stethoscopes, and many others.
According to Doctors say C. Auris is responsible for causing bloodstream infections. And it can also infect other parts of the body, including the respiratory system, kidney, brain, skin, and internal organs. Aspergillus is also commonly found in the environment and is often found in heating or air conditioning systems.
In Covid-19 patients, the damage is done to the skin, blood vessel walls, and other membranes of the respiratory system.
Symptoms of White Fungus Infection:
- shortness of breath
- white-colored thrush in nose, mouth, lungs, and nails
And for a more invasive form of infection, symptoms are
- blood pressure
- abdominal pain
- urinary tract infection
White Fungus Causing Death in Birds:
Wildlife officials were able to rule out several germs as the cause of death of birds in several states, many blinded with crusted-over eyes.
This bird infection was reported in 10 states, including Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, where wildlife agencies were also inundated.
Unfortunately, cases of white fungus are also being reported in birds including, blue jays, grackles, and starlings. Jim Tinnell, a wildlife rehabilitator in Ohio, was suspicious when he received his first sick blue jay of the season on May 24.
“Blue jays just don’t come into rehab that often,” he said, referring to his 40 years of experience rehabbing birds. “They’re great parents.”
He received numerous birds in his care all appeared emaciated and functionally blind, their eyes crusted shut. Mr. Tinnell gave each bird a warm eye compress and applied antibiotic ointment but useless, and all the birds died in few hours.
In upcoming days Mr. Tinnell took in bird after bird; each has the same eye infection condition. Before the death of these birds, many developed neurological symptoms: Their heads bobbed back, their bodies bounced, and their blind eyes fixated upward toward the sky.
At first, the cause of the death of birds and the cause of their symptoms remained a mystery. But later, the United States Geological Survey, which has coordinated an investigation of the disease among the states, reported in a statement circulated to wildlife agencies that it could rule out several germs.
Several diagnostics laboratories tested samples for potential bacterial diseases, viruses, parasites, and toxins.
In July, staff at wildlife agencies added that reports seem to be tapering; they were not sure that the virus was transferred to people or not.
City Wildlife in Washington, D.C, received one case in April, 91 in May, and 62 in the first week of June. But nowadays, only two to four patients a week are reported, said Dr. Cheryl Chooljian, the clinic’s director. And most studies reported that the cause of death could be white fungus, bacteria, or another virus.
And according to Dr. Chooljian’s experience, not all birds displayed the same symptoms. Symptoms of some include crusty eyes, with severe swelling and white mucus discharge. While others had just neurological issues, twitching their eyes, arching their neck, or rolling their bodies in a seemingly endless cycle.