Black fungus cases on the rise, PGI getting 10 to 15 cases daily

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Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21

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The cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus, are on a rise in the city. In the past one week, the Microbiology Department at the PGI has been diagnosing 10-15 patients with the infection on a daily basis.

In the pre-Covid times, the institute used to witness 50 cases annually.

Though not every patient needs to be admitted to the hospital, there are currently 21 mucormycosis cases admitted to the NHE Covid block of the PGIMER, of which nine are from Punjab and seven from Haryana.

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Prof Arunaloke Chakrabarti, Head, Department of Medical Microbiology, said, “Patients with mucormycosis symptoms are showing up in the emergency block of the hospital and a lot of them are from other states.”

“The samples of patients are sent to the Microbiology Department laboratory for assessment. A majority of patients who are diagnosed with the disease in our institute have recovered from Covid-19,” said Prof Chakrabarti.

“Almost 80 per cent of the suspected cases are diagnosed with mucormycosis. The symptoms are facial pain, nasal blockage, etc.

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As per the previous studies, the mortality rate of mucormycosis was found to be 50 per cent,” Prof Chakrabarti added.

Emphasising the role of an ENT specialist in post-Covid care, Prof Chakrabarti said, “It is highly unlikely that patients come to the hospital in the early stage of mucormycosis as OPDs are shut and they can only visit emergencies. There should be involvement of ENT specialists in the post-Covid clinics so that such patients can be treated in time.”

‘Set up task force’

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  • At present, eight patients of mucormycosis are admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32.
  • The Principal Health Secretary of the UT has asked the GMCH-32 to form a task force of microbiologists and ENT specialists to diagnose such cases.
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  • Principal Health Secretary Arun Gupta said: “Currently, the city is facing a shortage of amphotericin B, which is used to treat the fungal infection. The UT will soon place an order with the company to get the injections.”

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