Pune: White patches (lesions) on the tongue, inner cheeks, and palate of patients are caused by candidiasis (also spelled candidiasis) – a mild fungal infection. Naming the condition ‘white fungus’ is incorrect, and the inappropriate term only creates panic, experts from the National Covid-19 Task Force have said.
The infection (caused by the candida fungus) is easily treatable with minor and inexpensive oral antifungal tablets. It does not require expensive injections, like liposomal amphotericin B – a key drug of choice in the treatment of mucormycosis, an invasive fungal infection (caused by fungal mucor) currently on the rise mainly in patients recovered from Covid to across the country
âThe ‘white fungus’ for candidiasis or any candida related infection is a complete misnomer. Doctors and the media should refrain from using such incorrect terms as they only cause panic among people, âsaid infectious disease expert Sanjay Pujari, a member of the national task force.
The term originates from white lesions / patches that candidiasis causes in patients. âA patient with candidiasis has white patches or lesions mainly on the tongue, the inside of the cheeks and the palate. Therefore, one section of the media calls it white fungus, which is in fact incorrect and creates unnecessary panic, âhe said.
In fact, the white mushroom is a variety of edible mushrooms (tremella fuciformis) used in traditional Chinese cooking and medicine.
Candida is part of the normal flora of the skin, oral gastrointestinal tract and genitourinary tract in most people. âOral candidiasis (thrush) can be seen in all immunocompromised patients. It is mild and can be treated with topical application of antifungals or sometimes tablets. Infections associated with Candida are not very common in Covid patients like mucormycosis, âadded Pujari.
Pune treating doctors have reported sporadic cases of candidiasis in the past 30 days. âI have diagnosed and treated recovered patients of four Covid with oral candidiasis. All recovered with minor medication within 15 days. Candidiasis is not invasive in nature, unlike mucormycosis. Therefore, people should not panic, âsaid oral and maxillofacial surgeon JB Garde.
Garde is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of post-Covid fungal infections at major hospitals in Pune, including Ruby Hall Clinic and Poona Hospital.
Another oral surgeon, Prasad Dadhe, said: âI have only seen two or three cases of candidiasis in patients with Covid. Those diagnosed had uncontrolled diabetes. The infection set in with minor medications. Candidiasis is not life threatening, unlike mucormycosis. “
In extremely rare cases, candidiasis spreads to vital organs, including the lungs.
âHowever, we have not seen any such among Covid patients so far,â chest doctor Mahavir Modi said.
Candida in the bloodstream is called candidemia. It is often seen in critically ill patients. âWe have recorded around 40 cases of candida in the bloodstream in critically ill Covid patients since the pandemic broke out in March last year,â said infectious disease expert Parikshit Prayag from Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital .