Covid-19: 270 black fungus cases reported in Pune; therapy SOPs framed

Photo: Shutterstock

Around 270 cases of Mucormycosis,

a rare but dangerous fungal infection, have been reported so far in Pune district, prompting a government task force to come up with a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for patient management in hospitals, officials said on Friday.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision.

It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in people who are diabetic or have suppressed immunity.

Mucormycosis, whose treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach, has come in focus during the pandemic as it has been detected in some recovering and recovered coronavirus patients.

Saurabh Rao, Divisional Commissioner, Pune division, said so far around 270 cases have been reported in various hospitals in the district.

"Our divisional task force member Dr Bharat Purandare has come up with a detailed SOPs for management of Mucormycosis. The SOPs have been vetted by the task force," he said.

"The SOPs have been issued to all hospitals in the state. We have asked hospitals to follow the guidelines mentioned in the SOPs," the IAS officer said.

The SOPs contain details about clinical management, treatment protocols, patient management, surgical intervention and medication, Rao said.

Asked about fatality rate among Mucormycosis patients in Pune district, the senior bureaucrat said they are collating data in this regard.

It is a rare fungal infection. Before COVID-19 also, we used to see such cases, but their number was very low. During the first wave of COVID-19, we came across hardly four to five cases.

"But during the second wave of COVID-19, we are seeing quite a number of cases, said Dr Abhishek Ghosh, a microvascular reconstructive surgeon at Noble Hospital.

He said so far around 40 cases of Mucormycosis have been reported in his hospital.

"For a rare disease like Mucormycosis, the number is very big," said Dr Ghosh.

It is more common in patients who are diabetic and whose sugar levels are not under control, said Dr Ghosh, adding COVID-19 patients are more susceptible to Mucormycosis due to prolonged steroid use during their treatment.

"If the patient reports early, then his/her vision is not lost. Recovery without an orbital exenteration surgery (removal of the eyeball and surrounding tissues) is possible by using anti-fungal drugs," said Dr Ghosh.

However, if the infection is severe and the patient reports late, there is no option but to remove the eye completely to get rid of the fungus, he said.

He said they performed an orbital exenteration surgery on a 28-year-old man, who had a severe infection.

"We performed the surgery on the same day he was admitted to the hospital and removed his one eye and treated the infection. Post-surgery, he was put on anti-fungal drugs for the next 3 to 4 weeks," Dr Ghosh said.

"Yes, there is trauma as he has lost one eye but at the same time, the person is happy that his life was saved," he said.

A 48-year-old resident of Baramati tehsil, who was infected with Mucormycosis after recovering from a bout of COVID-19, has lost one eye, but considers himself lucky to have survived the deadly infection caused by black fungus.

He underwent a surgery in which his left eye was removed.

"Though I have lost my left eye, I consider myself lucky as my life is saved after the surgery," he said.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel