The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has sent letters to the authorities concerned of districts across the country, asking them to remain alert about the deadly black fungus.
“We have kept cautious attention on black fungus in our monitoring so that it can’t create extra pressure on our health system during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr Md Nazmul Islam, spokesperson of the DGHS, said while speaking at its health bulletin on Sunday.He said the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 is discussing the issue and they will make an advice in this regard immediately.
“We have already sent letters to different districts across the country making alert about the black fungus. We will also give a treatment guideline on it,” the DGHS official added.
According to media reports, the black fungus is being increasingly seen among vulnerable patients in India, including those with COVID-19, as the neighbouring country continues to struggle to tackle the pandemic.
Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, is a rare but dangerous infection. Usually very rare, mucormycosis has a high mortality rate and is difficult to treat. The US CDC estimates mucormycosis with an overall all-cause mortality rate of 54 percent.
The mucormycosis is affecting COVID-19 patients more due to prolonged administration of steroids and subsequent immune compromised state.
People with diabetes, on steroids and humidified oxygen for a long time, and COVID-19 patients with pre-existing comorbidities are the most at risk, the reports said. Meanwhile, Dr Nazmul Islam, also Line Director (CDC) of the DGHS, said nine patients infected with the Indian variants of coronavirus have so far been detected in the country. “Genome sequencing is going on. If the reports come, then the number of patients may increase.”He said though the rate of new coronavirus infection cases has declined in May, it is not satisfactory. “We have to continue maintaining health guidelines to keep the coronavirus situation under control,” he added.