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Zygomycosis: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

What is the Zygomycosis? How is the Zygomycosis treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the Zygomycosis?

Zygomycosis, also know has mucormycosis is a fungal infection which is usually very rare but if gets inflicted, can be fatal. The infection mainly affects the face, nose and mouth. The fungi is mainly found in decaying vegetation and soil. The infection is caused on exposure to the molds that grow in the decaying leaves, rotting vegetation and wood, composting piles and soil. Individuals who have prevalent conditions like diabetes or other immunosuppressive conditions are more prone to catch the disease. Other conditions to increase the risk of getting inflicted are cuts and scratches on the skin, burns, cancer, HIV/AIDS, surgery or any recent organ transplant. Apart from the face and the oropharyngeal cavity the fungi can also affect the skin and the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of zygomycosis include necrosis of the tissue and thrombosis. As the respiratory tract gets infected, the signs and symptoms of such an infection are fever, nasal congestion, cough, sinus pain and headaches. Zygomycosis infection through skin causes blisters, swelling, tenderness, redness, swelling, ulcers, blackened skin tissue accompanied by fever. The diagnosis of the infection is done while diagnosing some other disease as normally the symptoms do not indicate zygomycosis infection directly. It is important to treat the condition as soon as possible because the disease is fatal and the infection progresses very fast in the body. If left untreated it can lead to brain infection, seizures, pneumonia, paralysis and finally death. Aggressive treatment is required with the help of medication and surgery both.

How is the Zygomycosis treatment done?

Treatment for zygomycosis must begin as soon as it is diagnosed and it must be extremely aggressive and fast and the infection spreads equally aggressively and fast. Amphotericin B must be administered through intravenous as soon as the infection is suspected and the injections for this drug must be continued for net 4 to 6 weeks to completely eradicate from the body. After starting amphotericin B medication, surgical removal of the mould from the affected tissues is indicated. Drastic surgical removal or debridement is extremely important for the removal of the infection. Other medications which have also been proved beneficial are posaconazole and isavuconazole which can be administered both orally and through IV. As the infections occur mainly in those patients who already have some other underlying disease like diabetes or a weak immune system, it is recommended to control the underlying disease. If the patient gets rhinocerebral disease, the sinuses are drained out immediately and then excision of the necrotic tissue is carried out. Infection causes the lungs to develop lesions which are debrided entirely. There are alternative therapies that are often used for treatment of zygomycosis like therapy with hyperbaric oxygen which stimulates the neutrophils even more to kill the molds.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People with weak immune system, diabetes or renal diseases are more prone to the disease and hence, are eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If a person has similar symptoms of zygomycosis infection but is not diagnosed with the infection, he/she will not be eligible for the treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Ampohotericin B and other similar antifungal medication have very less side effects headache, muscle and joint pain, itching and mild rash o the injection site etc. Only one particular aspect must be taken care of during medication and that is, if the patient is already under some other steroidal medication, it needs to be stopped as soon as antifungal treatment is started. If it is not stopped then instead of getting rid of the fungal growth it will be increased by the function of the steroid./

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Post treatment guidelines for zygomycosis infection includes avoiding contact with soil and exposure to polluted air, covering and regular cleaning of any cuts or burn on the skin etc.

How long does it take to recover?

It may take a few weeks to months to recover completely from the condition after commencement of the medication.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of zygomycosis treatment in India can range from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 20,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Yes the results of the treatment are permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There is no alternative therapy for treating zycomycosis infection. Only way to be protected from the infection is may be to prevent the infection by avoiding exposure to environment that may contain the fungi.

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