25% of those infected with black fungus in Chandigarh succumbed
With 10 out of the total 41 patients infected with mucormycosis (black fungus) in Chandigarh succumbing to the infection, the case fatality ratio (CFR) of the disease in city has reached 25%. This is much higher than the Covid CFR of the city, which currently stands at 1.3% with 807 deaths and 61,542 cases so far.
As per the data provided by the UT health department, all 10 black fungus fatalities have taken place at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, which has so far admitted 22 patients from the city. Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has admitted 16 black fungus patients while two patients are undergoing treatment at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16. Another one has been admitted at a private hospital in the city. Of the 10 black fungus fatalities, seven were infected with Covid-19 while three had no history of the viral infection.
Professor Surinder Singhal, head of ENT department at GMCH-32, said, “Due to post-Covid complications, many people are getting infected with mucormycosis. Many of them succumbed to post-Covid complications but since they were also infected with black fungus, these deaths were added to the list of black fungus fatalities.”
Prof Singhal added, “Most cases coming to GMCH-32 are referrals from other hospitals. By the time they come here, they are already in a critical state and have already been administered amphotericin B antifungal drugs for days at the previous hospital.”
He revealed that even before Covid outbreak, the CFR of mucormycosis hovered around 40 to 80%. Prof Singhal advised people who have recovered from Covid-19 to monitor their blood sugar levels and continue wearing masks to avoid getting the fungal infection.
Condition better than Punjab hospitals
As hospitals in Chandigarh also cater to patients from nearby cities and states, the total number patients admitted here (including residents and non-residents) stands at 467, of which 34 have succumbed so far. This takes the total CFR in city hospitals to 7.2%. The figure is lesser than Punjab hospitals where the CFR stands at 9.28%.
Symptoms to watch out for
Mucormycosis is a rare but serious fungal infection which can disfigure people even when it is not fatal. The infection can affect the sinus, eyes, lungs, jaws and teeth and sometimes brain of the patient. Health experts say that Covid survivors, who don’t follow the post-recovery instructions of the doctor, especially those pertaining to blood sugar levels and intake of medicines, are more prone to the fungal infection. Dr Arunaloke Chakrabarti, head, medical microbiology, PGIMER, said, “People with symptoms such as nasal blockade or congestion, nasal discharge (bloody or brown/black), facial pain, numbness or swelling or blurred vision must contact doctors at the earliest to control the infection spread.”