97 Deaths In Karnataka Due to Black Fungus, COVID-19 the Reason

black fungus
Image Courtesy: The Economic Times

Karnataka government on Monday has notified that a total number of 97 people in the state have contracted mucormycosis or black fungus. According to the news agency PTI, this came as a post-COVID complication in the state. However, state Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar assured everyone that there is no reason to panic since the infection does not spread like COVID-19.

“Till yesterday, 97 people contracted this (black fungus) disease in the state,” Sudhakar said, adding, “It did affect a few people in the state, which I accept…compared to previous years, this year it is more in number.”

According to Sudhakar, who is a medical professional, the usage of tap water, excess use of steroids by diabetic patients can be the possible cause of the black fungus. “I appeal to the paramedical staff, use only sterilized water extracted from the humidifier,” Sudhakar instructed the doctors and paramedics.

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“After contracting COVID, diabetic patients will have to control their sugar level,” Sudhakar advised while also 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 centers in the state for its treatment immediately. 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.

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Meanwhile, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria last week noted that mucormycosis is not a fresh infection but the number of cases has increased clearly due to Covid-19. Guleria also warned about 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 spread of the black fungus 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,” he said. Mucormycosis, a rare but dangerous fungal infection, has now been found to be affecting some coronavirus patients as well.

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