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Black fungus: 481 cases in Karnataka, govt advises against use of steroids during first week of treatment of Covid patients

Health Minister K Sudhakar announced that post-Covid wards will be set up in district hospitals to help patients in a bid to keep the rise in black fungus cases in check.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 27, 2021 6:46:16 am
Covid-19Diabetes and the excessive use of steroids while treating Covid patients is causing a rise in cases of mucormycosis infections. (PTI photo)

With the cumulative number of patients infected with mucormycosis (black fungus) in Karnataka now rising to 481, the state government has advised doctors not to administer steroids to patients during the first week of Covid-19 infection.

According to Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, the move comes after an expert panel constituted to study the source of infection pointed out that using steroids in the first week of Covid treatment was the primary reason for rise in cases of mucormycosis.

“We need to avoid this and steroids should be administered to Covid patients only from the second week. There are about 95 cases of black fungus now being treated at Bangalore Medical College. Out of them, 75 patients have either uncontrolled diabetes or have been administered steroids during Covid treatment,” Sudhakar explained.

After a meeting held with the expert panel at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, Sudhakar added that the state has also decided to formulate a revised discharge policy. “We have also formulated a set of post-Covid precautions for patients who have recovered from Covid-19 in a bid to contain the spread of the infection,” he added. When contacted, health officials clarified that the details regarding this will be notified shortly.

‘Post-Covid wards to be set up in district hospitals’

Sudhakar announced that post-Covid wards will be set up in district hospitals to help patients in a bid to keep the rise in black fungus cases in check. “While getting discharged, ENT specialists and physicians will check the nasal cavity of patients. If required, an MRI scan will also be taken. Patients will be asked to visit these wards personally or can make video calls to doctors at these wards to report the progress of recovery,” he said.

The government has also decided to observe patients recovering from Covid-19 for two weeks. Patients who develop complications will be directed to seek immediate treatment at hospitals as well.

Sudhakar added that the state government has also raised an indent to the Centre for 20,000 doses of two other medicines to treat black fungus in addition to Liposomal Amphotericin B.

Meanwhile, the Health Department Wednesday noted that the state has been allocated 1,220 vials of Amphotericin B by the Centre in addition to the 2,300 which were allocated till May 24.

According to a list shared by Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Sadananda Gowda, as many as 24 other states and Union Territories in the country have reported cases of black fungus so far.

While Gujarat has reported 2,859 such cases, Maharashtra (2770), Andhra Pradesh (768), Madhya Pradesh (752), Telangana (744), and Uttar Pradesh (701) are other states with a higher caseload than Karnataka, as on May 25, the list shared by Gowda stated.

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