The announcement from the health authorities comes when the sultanate faces a surge in COVID-19 infections that have flooded its hospitals.
Doctors in Oman have noted a potential fatal fungal infection called mucormycosis – commonly known as “black fungus” – in the country, according to authorities.
The country’s Health Minister said Tuesday that three COVID-19 patients have been infected with the disease, which has spread in some patients with coronavirus in India hard hit.
Although relatively rare, the infection has raised alarm among authorities that its sudden growth could complicate efforts to combat COVID-19.
It was not immediately clear under what condition the three patients were, the first known cases in the Arabian Peninsula.
The announcement came when the sultan made an increase in COVID-19 infections that flooded its hospitals.
Omani health officials warned earlier this week that there was an acute shortage of hospital beds amid the spread of highly transmissible coronavirus variants, a delayed vaccine launch and relaxed movement restrictions. To date, Oman has recorded more than 238,500 cases of coronavirus, including 2,565 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
U fungal condition becomes a growing cause of concern during the devastating wave of coronavirus in India. Other countries, including Egypt, have reported widespread cases in recent months as infections increase.
The black fungus existed in India before the wave of the virus, but it fueled fears when it affected thousands of patients infected or recovered from little COVID-19.
Mucormycosis is caused by exposure to mucous mold, which is commonly found in the soil, air and even in the nose and mucus of humans.
It is causes blackening or discoloration on the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing up blood.
Pain and redness around the eyes or nose, fever, headache, cough, shortness of breath, bloody vomiting and altered mental status are some of its other symptoms.
Fungal infection predicts patients with weakened immune systems and underlying conditions, particularly diabetes, as well as excessive use of certain over-the-counter coronavirus medications such as steroids. Uncontrolled blood sugar can put immunocompromised people at a higher risk of contracting the disease.