The number of Black fungus cases in India has now reached over 7,200.
India continues to battle its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the fight, though, a new challenge in the health sector has emerged in the form of the black fungus disease.
Earlier this month, several hospitals across the country began to report a rise in cases of the fungal infection among COVID-19 patients. Even those who have recently recovered from coronavirus have been affected.
The surge of infection rates and deaths increased further in the next few weeks, causing an alarm among health officials. To date, several Indian states have already declared the disease as an epidemic, according to The Guardian.
Black fungus declared an epidemic in some Indian states
The publication said that the country has reported over 7,200 cases of black fungus. Moreover, 219 individuals have lost their lives due to the disease.
Because of this, five Indian states have now declared the fungal infection as an epidemic. These include Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, and Rajasthan. Many are also reportedly expecting that more states will have the same declaration in the next few weeks.
The same outlet continued that Maharashtra has already listed over 1,500 cases of black fungus with a total of 90 deaths. The said state is the first one “hit hard” by the country’s second wave of COVID-19.
There is also a surge in the infection rate in Delhi. On Friday, the city’s health minister, Satyendar Jain stated that there were over a total of 197 cases across the city. Accordingly, large government hospitals have set up “special black fungus wards” to cater to the influx of patients.
Advisory from the India’s health ministry
The declaration of the epidemic among Indian states comes after the Union Health Ministry released an official letter regarding the black fungus disease. As advised, all healthcare facilities in the country, whether private or government-run, should adhere to the ministry’s and Indian Council of Medical Research’s guidelines.
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 20, 2021
Also, the letter asks states across the country to “make mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act.”
The disease’s links to COVID-19
Experts said that mucormycosis or “black fungus” is a “serious but rare” disease. The rise of cases in India has seemingly stemmed from among COVID-19 patients with either diabetes or compromised immune systems.
Reports said that there are links between the fungal infection and overuse of steroids. As explained, steroids are immunosuppressants utilized in the treatment of the coronavirus.
The black fungus disease is also reportedly seen among COVID-19 patients in the country who were on ventilators in ICUs. This is likely because of the patients’ airways’ exposure to both humidity and moisture.
Featured image courtesy of Jernej Furman/Flickr