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Mucormycosis: 2,000 cases of Black Fungus in Maharashtra

The fungal infection is caused by a group of moulds called Mucormycetes. These moulds live throughout the environment.

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Experts say ‘black fungus’ is commonly seen in patients who have recovered from Covid-19 but have comorbidities such as diabetes, kidney or heart failure or cancer. | Image Courtesy: PTI

As Maharashtra spindles under the second wave of COVID-19, cases of black fungus infection mucormycosis are rising in recovered patients. Cases commonly known as black fungus, have been reported from Maharashtra among those who have recovered from COVID-19.

The fungal infection is caused by a group of moulds called Mucormycetes. These moulds live throughout the environment. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope told Afternoon Voice, “The growing cases of black fungal infection is a matter of concern, the state government has planned to use hospitals attached to medical colleges as treatment centres for Mucormycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection now affecting coronavirus patients.”

He said, “There could be over 2,000 new Mucormycosis patients in the state as of now and with more and more COVID-19 cases coming up, their number would increase for sure.”

He said black fungus has a 50 per cent mortality rate and is found in COVID-19 patients with suppressed immunity or co-morbidities.

“We are trying to cover most of the treatment under the Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (the state’s flagship health scheme), as Mucormycosis patient needs to be seen by various experts such as ENT, ophthalmologists and neurologists among others,” the minister stated further.

Commenting over the costly treatment, Tope said, “I will be writing to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to bring down the MRP of medicines needed for Mucormycosis treatment. Amphotericin-B is a key medicine required for the treatment of such patients. Haffkine (a state-run pharma firm based in Mumbai) is going float a tender for one lakh injections of the drug.”

Symptoms of Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision.

Odisha has detected its first case of mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ in a 71-year-old COVID-19 patient with a known history of chronic diabetes. On Friday Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul had said that mucormycosis cases were being found in coronavirus patients. Maharashtra, Gujarat has reported a rise in cases of rare but potentially fatal infection.

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