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Black Fungus: Four Die in Kerala, 36 New Cases Reported at Delhi Hospitals

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Mucormycosis or black fungus is more common among people whose immunity has weakened due to Covid, diabetes, kidney disease, liver or cardiac disorders, age-related issues, or those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Four people died of mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus infection, in Kerala on Sunday, officials said here. While two persons who lost their battle with fungus belonged to Ernakulam district, two others were from Pathanamthitta district.

They had been undergoing treatment in various hospitals in Kottayam and Ernakulam districts. According to officials, two persons infected with the black fungus, are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals in Ernakulam and Kottayam districts.

The Kerala government has said it has decided to conduct a medical audit of black fungus after reports emerged about the presence of the fungal disease in the state over the last one week. The decision was taken after some states started notifying black fungus, found in patients recovering from coronavirus, as an epidemic.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the availability of medicine for treating the disease will be ensured.

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Meanwhile, the Delhi government-run LNJP and GTB hospitals reported 36 more cases of black fungus in a day, senior officials said on Sunday. While Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Shahdara reported 21 fresh cases, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital added 15 more cases to its tally.

Dedicated centres have been set up for the treatment of mucormycosis at these city government-run hospitals and the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) in Taharpur. The RGSSH has not reported any case of mucormycosis so far. “Of the 36 (black fungus) cases at the LNJP Hospital at present, 30 people are Covid positive," said Dr Suresh Kumar, the hospital’s medical director. RGSSH medical director B L Sherwal said there are no cases of black fungus at the hospital.

Sherwal, who is also managing the dedicated centre for mucormycosis at the GTB Hospital, said the facility had a total of 41 cases of black fungus till Sunday evening. Meanwhile, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chairman D S Rana said there were 65 such patients at the private facility.

Mucormycosis or black fungus is more common among people whose immunity has weakened due to Covid, diabetes, kidney disease, liver or cardiac disorders, age-related issues, or those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. If such patients are administered steroids, their immunity weakens further, allowing the fungus to thrive.

Cases of black fungus have been rising in the national capital amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had on Saturday cautioned Covid-19 patients against taking steroids without a doctor’s advice.

“This is very dangerous. A patient’s immunity becomes zero when he/she takes steroids. Black fungus, which is found in soil or decaying matter inside homes, doesn’t affect healthy people. Chances of infection are more in those with low immunity," he had said. It is imperative to control blood sugar levels. Any virus, fungus or bacteria multiplies rapidly when the blood sugar level increases, he had said.

Jain had also said that there was a scarcity of drugs needed for the treatment of mucormycosis in Delhi and the rest of the country. About 15 hospitals in the city are treating patients of mucormycosis, according to the minister.

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