India reported over 45,000 black fungus cases so far, says Mandaviya in RS
In a written reply, the Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that a large majority of the black fungus patients (84.4 per cent) had a history of Covid-19.
As many as 45,432 cases of mucormycosis or black fungus have been reported by states and Union territories (UTs) across India as of July 15, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Of the 45,432 cases, 21,085 people are currently receiving treatment and a total of 4,252 have succumbed to the condition, Mandaviya said in the written reply.
He further stated that a large majority of the black fungus patients, constituting 84.4 per cent, had a history of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Among the most common presentations of mucormycosis are Rhinocerebral (77.6 per cent), Cutaneous (4.3 per cent), and Pulmonary (3 per cent).
Mandaviya pointed out that mucormycosis and other fungal infections are most typically noted as an opportunistic infection. These are detected in individuals with low-level immunity such as those suffering from cancer, diabetes or as a side effect of prolonged or irrational use of certain drugs like steroids for management Covid-19 and other disorders.
The health minister said that although mucormycosis is not a novel disease, its true incidence during the second wave of Covid-19 was unknown as at the time it wasn’t a notifiable disease. Following this, the health ministry had urged all states and UTs to declare the disease as a notifiable one under the Epidemic Disease Act to derive an objective analysis of the same.
Precisely, mucormycosis is a fungal infection that targets people with medical health problems, and cuts down their abilities to combat environmental pathogens. According to a Twitter post shared by former Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, the symptoms of the disease include fever, pain or redness around nose or eyes, coughing, headache and altered mental status, among others.
Mandaviya’s written reply noted that in early June, the health ministry, after discourse with the National Task Force on Covid-19, intimated a detailed advisory on managing and treating Covid associated mucomycosis (CAM).
When asked whether the central government has taken cognisance of the shortage of Amphotericin-B injections supply, which are used for the treatment of mucormycosis, the minister said that both first and second line drugs for managing the disease are currently available in ample numbers in Indian markets.
Furthermore, Mandaviya said that treatment of mucormycosis and all other fungal infections are provided free-of-cost in all central government hospitals and autonomous institutions under the Union health ministry.
This development comes after doctors in Rajasthan recently showed concern over rising cases of mucormycosis among children in the state. In the previous two months, five children were affected with mucormycosis, and of them, one died within only two days of hospitalisation. Meanwhile, the state has reported more than 3,000 cases of mucormycosis and 167 related fatalities in the last four months.
Last week, government data revealed that Delhi had 952 active cases of mucormycosis till July 6 – which is more than the number of active cases of Covid-19 in the national capital at the time. According to the data, till July 6, the city’s overall tally of mucormycosis stood at 1,656.
(With inputs from PTI)