Amid rising mucormycosis, or Black Fungus, in Covid-19 patients in Karnataka, the government has started a dedicated treatment facility at Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru on a pilot basis from Monday and also identified regional centres to treat the fungal infection.
Karnataka so far recorded 97 cases of Black Fungus Infection officially and the government has also decided to constitute a committee with an epidemiologist and a diabetologist to treat Black Fungus.
Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar said, “People who are diabetic are more prone to this rare fungal disease. Excessive use of steroids and contamination in ventilators and other equipment are also the causes of Black Fungus Infection. We are forming a committee and also have asked the Union government for the medicine which is used in the treatment of the Black Fungus.”
Recently the Karnataka government has asked the Centre to supply 25,000 doses of AmphotericinB. “I have asked the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to supply 25,000 (doses of) AmphotericinB. The State government has placed an order to purchase the antifungal drug,” he added.
On Monday, Sudhakar held a meeting with experts to discuss the measures to be taken to prevent and treat Mucormycosis found during post-recovery of Covid patients.
The expert committee headed by Dr H S Satish, HoD, ENT at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) has been formed to study and submit a report to the government. The BMCRI is researching the cases with the help of doctors from the government-run Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in the city.
A rare but serious fungal infection, mucormycosis or Black Fungus is being detected relatively frequently among Covid-19 patients in some States. The disease often manifests in the skin and also affects the lungs and the brain
The State health department has now notified Mucormycosis as a disease and all hospitals have been told to mandatorily report the cases. Sudhakar said “Measures are being taken to identify sources of contamination to prevent infection. I urge people to not panic and take all precautions post-Covid recovery to prevent infection.”
To treat the Black Fungus cases across Karnataka, the State government has identified regional centres like Mysore Medical College And Research Institute, Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences in Kalaburagi, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences in Hubballi, Kasturba Medical College in Manipal and Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru.
Many hospitals and eye hospitals in Bengaluru have reported cases of Black Fungus, including Narayana Nethralaya, People Tree hospitals, Trust Well Hospital, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital.
According to Trust Well Hospital, in the last two weeks, 38 people have been treated for Black Fungus infection in Bengaluru. A special unit has been set up at the hospital for the purpose of providing special care to the infected.
Dr Deepak Haldipur, HoD of special treatment of Mucormycosis at Trust Well Hospital, said that in Covid patients with diabetes, increased sugar level with steroid use increases fungal growth. Also, in some cases, steroid and high potency antibiotics are given. Some of these patients have reduced immunity due to its adverse effects. Then, that acts as fertile land for the fungus or mucormycosis, causing many complications.