760 black fungus patients still being treated in Delhi hospitals

The Delhi government declared mucormycosis an epidemic and notifiable disease on May 18.
Cases of mucormycosis rose sharply across India during the April-May surge of infections.(HT photo)
Cases of mucormycosis rose sharply across India during the April-May surge of infections.(HT photo)
Updated on Jul 03, 2021 02:05 AM IST
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ByAnonna Dutt, New Delhi

Hospitals in the city are still treating over 750 patients with mucormycosis, instances of which shot up in the wake of the fourth wave of Covid-19 in the national capital between April and May, showed Delhi government data.

At least 760 patients are being treated for the infection, commonly known as black fungus, in Delhi government-run and private hospitals, the data, compiled on Tuesday, said, six weeks after the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections began to decline in the Capital. The numbers from the four central government-run hospitals in Delhi were not immediately available.

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Cases of mucormycosis rose sharply across India during the April-May surge of infections as a secondary infection among patients infected with Covid-19 due to a diabetes complication or the indiscriminate use of steroids. Between the second and third week of May, over 600 patients were being treated for black fungus in Delhi.

The state government declared mucormycosis an epidemic and notifiable disease on May 18.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one of the four central government hospitals, has been treating over 100 cases of the infection at any given time since mid-May. In comparison, the hospital used to see 12 to 14 cases of the rare infection over an entire year.

The state government-run--Lok Nayak and Guru Teg Bahadur hospitals--were treating 157 and 133 patients respectively as on Tuesday, said officials.

With 84 patients, Sir Ganga Ram hospital is treating maximum cases of all the private sector facilities.

Hospital officials, however, said they are still running short of Amphotericin-B, the only last-line drug that can treat the fungal infection.

“The number of new admissions has gone down a bit, but we might have been able to treat the patients better if the medicine was readily and regularly available. The supply of medicine is still not as per demand,” said a senior doctor from Lok Nayak hospital.

An AIIMS official said, “We now have around 100 patients with mucormycosis, though the numbers have reduced over the last one week. Earlier, we were treating more patients. The supply has improved but the medicine is not available every day and not always in the required quantity,”

Every mucormycosis patient needs 50 vials of Amphotericin-B per week on average, extending to even 100 vials in severe cases, as per officials. So far, Delhi has received over 22,000 doses since the government took control of the distribution of the medicine across the country in May. The Delhi government wrote to the Centre asking for 100,000 doses of the medicine over a period of two months on May 20.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021