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Nagpur and Pune account for almost 33% of Maharashtra’s mucormycosis cases

The infection has claimed 503 victims in the state, of which Nagpur reported 95 deaths while 47 died in Pune.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: June 5, 2021 8:36:05 am
Nagpur and Pune account for almost 33% of Maharashtra's mucormycosis casesA suspected mucormycosis patient been checked for signs of the rare fungal disease at the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation special OPD ward. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Nagpur and Pune accounts for nearly one-third of the total cases of mucormycosis in Maharashtra, according to date from the state Health department. Mucormycosis, a rare but serious fungal infection, has emerged as a significant challenge during the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Till date, a total of 6,003 cases have been reported in Maharashtra, of which 1,151 were in Nagpur and 802 in Pune, according to a new report from the department.

The infection is usually found among post-Covid patients with low immunity and in those who have diabetes, hypertension or are suffering from cancer. The fungus enters through the nasal passage and may proceed to infect the eye and brain.

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The infection has claimed 503 victims in the state, of which Nagpur reported 95 deaths while 47 died in Pune. The infection usually does not pose a threat to those with a healthy immune system. But patients most vulnerable to mucormycosis are those who were treated with steroids and other drugs for Covid 19 to reduce inflammation.

Pune, especially, is seeing a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases but an increase in cases of mucormycosis, with 45 new cases reported in a week.

There were a total of 290 Mucromycosis patients in the city till May 26 but the number increased to 335 patients by June 2. The city has seen 20 deaths due to the fungal infection till now. As many as 238 mucormycosis patients are still under treatment in various hospitals in the city and 47 have recovered.

The civic body has also been keeping a tab on Covid-19 patients, and those showing any symtomps of black fungus have to undergo tests to ascertain if they have the infection.

“The PMC has decided to set up operation theatres in Dalvi hospital and Khedekar hospital for surgery of mucormycosis patients,” said a civic officer.

Other districts in the state which reported high number of mucormycosis cases include Aurangabad, 702, followed by 350 in Nashik, 326 cases in Solapur, 319 in Mumbai, 218 in Ahmednagar, 209 in Sangli and 205 in Thane. Overall, a total of 1450 persons with mucormycosis have recovered while 4024 are under treatment. Some districts, such as o Sindhudurg, have reproted no case of black fungus till now, while some like Ratnagiri (7) have reported only a few cases.

Mucormycosis has been made a notifiable disease and requires high-end treatment both in terms of medical management and surgeries. The treatment may also entail a long stay in the hospital. Under the state ‘s flagship scheme Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, patients are availing treatment free of cost.

However, in a bid to redress grievances regarding exorbitant amounts charged by healthcare providers in the private sector, the state has issued a government resolution on June 3 providing the rates. Rates have been fixed for treating mucormycosis patients according to Class A, B C, cities.

Meanwhile, doctors say there has been a drop in the number of new cases of mucormycosis in the last fortnight. Dr Ramesh Murthy, eye surgeon at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, said “There have been fewer cases of mucormycosis now that there has been a drop in the number of new coronavirus infections”. Early detection has helped treat a majority of cases, he said.

At Sassoon Hospital, 100 mucormycosis-related surgeries conducted

At Sassoon General Hospital, at least 100 patients with mucormycosis have undergone surgeries. Dr Murlidhar Tambe, dean of B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, said that on June 3, the hospital successfully completed its 100th mucormycosis-related surgery.

Sassoon General Hospital has admitted over 201 patients of the fungal infection.

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