Over 90 people got black fungus in state since Covid outbreak, says health minister

Karnataka government on Monday notified that altogether 97 people in the state contracted mucormycosis or black fungus as a post-COVID complications in the state, news agency PTI reported. However, there is no reason to panic as it does not spread like COVID-19, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar assured.

“Till yesterday, 97 people contracted this (black fungus) disease in the state,” Sudhakar said and further appealed to the people not to panic as it does not spread like COVID.

“It did affect a few people in the state, which I accept…compared to previous years, this year it is more in number,” the Minister said.

Usage of tap water, excess steroids causes black fungus

Sudhakar, who is a medical professional, suspects that the usage of tap water, excess use of steroids by diabetic patients causes the malady.

“I appeal to the para medical staff, use only sterilised water extracted from the humidifier,” Sudhakar told the doctors and paramedics.

“After contracting COVID, diabetic patients will have to control their sugar level,” Sudhakar said, adding, “those who did not control it fell prey to black fungus.”

In case a patient contracts black fungus, Sudhakar said he/she should notify regional centres in the state for its treatment. These include – Mysuru Medical College, Shivamogga Institute of Medical College, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences in Kalaburagi, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences at Hubballi, Kasturba Medical College and Wenlock District Hospital in Mangaluru.

Last week, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria noted that mucormycosis is not a new infection but the number of cases has increased due to Covid-19. Guleria also warned against the spread of mucormycosis and recommended that with COVID-19 cases increasing, it’s of paramount importance that protocols of infection control practices are followed at hospitals.

Like Karnataka health minister, Guleria said that misuse of steroids is a major cause behind the infection. Chances of fungal infection increase in the patients who are diabetic, COVID positive and are taking steroids. To prevent it, we should stop the misuse of steroids. Mucormycosis, a rare but dangerous fungal infection, has now been found to be affecting some coronavirus patients.

He said, “This disease (Mucormycosis) can affect the face, infecting nose, orbit of eye, or brain, which can cause even vision loss. It can also spread to the lung.”

“As COVID-19 cases are increasing, it’s of paramount importance that we follow protocols of infection control practices at hospitals. It is been seen that secondary infections — fungal and bacterial — are causing more mortality,” Dr Guleria further added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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