Egypt moves to calm black fungus panic as two cases detected

Egypt moves to calm black fungus panic as two cases detected
A young man rides a camel along the banks of the Nile, Aswan, Egypt, March 25, 2007. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 May 2021

Egypt moves to calm black fungus panic as two cases detected

Egypt moves to calm black fungus panic as two cases detected
  • Appeal for social media caution as comedian Samir Ghanem’s death fuels rumors
  • Black fungus is caused by a mold found in soil and decomposing organic matter such as rotting leaves

CAIRO: Only two instances of black fungus infection have been detected in Egypt, said a top official who stressed that the cases were not a cause for concern.

Citizens should not fear the infection, said Hossam Hosni, head of the scientific committee to combat the coronavirus virus in Egypt.

In televised statements, Hosni indicated that he had diagnosed two cases with the infection.

“But the matter had nothing to do with the coronavirus,” he said.

Hosni said that the two cases were contracted due to a health condition linked to immunosuppressants and drugs that were aimed at improving immune strength.

He urged people to stop sharing messages that spread fear about the disease. “Some people have shared that the disease requires the removal of the nose or eye,” he said.

The sharing of this information was a “terrifying matter,” which was far from the truth, Hosni said.

He explained that the disease could be treated through medication.

Hosni noted that treatment for the fungal disease was fully available in Egypt, and surgery was the last stage used in dealing with the infection.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health has denied the spread of the black fungus in the country among those infected with the coronavirus.

The ministry’s move came after rumours attributed the death of comedian Samir Ghanem to the infection.

Khaled Mujahid, assistant to the Egyptian health minister, said that black fungus was not an unusual disease, but rather a side-effect of some immunodeficiency patients.

There was no need for panic, he said.

Mujahid called on social media users and media outlets to stop spreading false information and to ensure accuracy in what they reported. He urged them to consult scientific and health institutions when reporting medical matters.

Enas Abdel Halim, a member of the Egyptian Parliament, called for clarification on the strategy that the Ministry of Health intends to implement, and the disclosure of the treatment protocols followed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Black fungus is caused by a mold found in soil and decomposing organic matter such as rotting leaves, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.