Mucormycosis or Black Fungus will be notified by states under the Epidemic Diseases Act. That could help the government know how many patients are infected at a time when there is a huge demand for anti-fungal drugs needed for the treatment. NDTV has estimated that the number of cases in the country so far is at least 4,000.
In Mumbai, 63-year-old Kishore Punjabi recovered from Covid but was attacked by the fungal infection, which forced doctors at a private hospital to surgically remove his right eye and underlying dead tissue till the skull bone. Dr Prashant Kevle, ENT surgeon at Sushruth Hospital, says the surgery took four hours.
With hundreds of such cases of Black Fungus that affects the eyes, nose, jaws and could even spread to the brain, being reported from across the country, the centre has asked states to notify it under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Notifying a disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act means that government hospitals, private facilities and medical colleges will have to report suspected and confirmed cases to the health authorities.
As of now, there is no clarity on the total number of people affected, and given the shortage of anti-fungal drugs, this will hugely help in planning. Guidelines are issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Health Ministry for screening, diagnosis and management of the disease.
In a letter to the Health Secretaries of all states, the Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said Mucormycosis had become a new challenge among Covid patients on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control, and is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality.
Maharashtra has reported 1,500 cases and 90 deaths. The state’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope said a conservative estimate puts the number of cases at 1,500, and 90 deaths. The state has asked the centre for medicines.
Gujarat is suspected to have 600 cases, 420 in Madhya Pradesh while Telangana has nearly 300 cases. Karnataka and Rajasthan have both reported 100 cases each. In Delhi, there are an estimated 250 cases and a private hospital has reported one death.
Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Healthcare, said hardly any Black Fungus case was seen in the first Covid wave. But there are many in the second wave.
“So far we have treated five patients for Mucormycosis. Out of this, two were seriously affected. Both were operated, but one of them died as it was an unsalvageable stage and we could not save him,” Dr Chaudhry said.
Assam reported its first case of a 27-year-old patient who recovered from Covid without going to the ICU, but was severely diabetic and died due to the fungal disease on Wednesday.
Chhattisgarh (76), Haryana (60), Bihar (50), Uttar Pradesh (30), Kerala (15), Jharkhand (10), Tamil Nadu (9), Andhra Pradesh (9), Punjab (2) and Assam (1) cases have been reported.
With huge shortage being reported in anti-fungal drugs like Liposomal Amphotericin, Telangana for instance has formed a government panel to regulate supply and stop black marketing.
syndicated from NDTV