More than 300 people, who had fully recovered from COVID-19 infection, passed away due to Mucormycosis, which is commonly known as black fungus, in Karnataka. Bengaluru, the state's capital, recorded more than 100 such cases.
Mucormycosis was declared an epidemic in several states under the Epidemic Diseases Act in May. It causes nasal blockage, bleeding from the nose, black fungus patches inside the mouth, and also loss of sight in some cases. It is a post-COVID complication that has been seen only in India and mostly restricted to a few states, like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Bengaluru, The Epicentre Of The Crisis
As of July 9, as many as 3,491 people were found to be suffering from mucormycosis in Karnataka. Bengaluru Urban district reported 1,109 cases, followed by Dharwad with 279, Vijayapura with 208 and Kalaburagi with 196. A total of 303 people have lost their lives to the fungal infection, with a fatality rate of 8.6 per cent. About 34 per cent of the deaths reported in Karnataka were from Bengaluru. In fact, the case fatality rate of the black fungal infection is higher than COVID's fatality rate in Karnataka which is 1.2 per cent.
Although doctors suspect COVID-19 as the only factor that led to black fungus infection, high blood sugar level, steroid usage and a possible effect of Delta variant might have caused further complications. The deaths reported between May and early June occurred due to an acute shortage of the anti-fungal medicine, called Liposomal Amphotericin B drug, sources have told Times of India. While the patients are supposed to take 5-6 doses a day, the scarcity of the drug led to a situation where a mucormycosis patient was given one dose of medicine once in 2-3 days.
Rush For Government Hospitals
When the drug was not available, several patients moved from private hospitals to government hospitals under the presumption that the drug is available in government hospitals. The scarcity of the medicine eased up only in mid-June, a doctor told the newspaper. The doctor also noted that mucormycosis is 100 per cent fatal, if not treated.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation has improved in Karnataka. The state recorded 1,386 new Covid-19 cases and 61 deaths on Monday, July 12.