Maharashtra may have over 2,000 cases of mucormycosis: Tope
(Sourced from PTI)
Maharashtra could possibly have over 2,000 mucormycosis patients as of now, and with more and more COVID-19 cases coming up, their number is expected to increase, Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said. Symptoms of mucormycosis, also known as Black fungus, include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion, and partial loss of vision.
The Maharashtra government has decided to use hospitals attached to medical colleges as treatment centers for mucormycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection now affecting coronavirus patients, Tope informed on Tuesday. "The state government has decided to select hospitals attached to medical colleges for treatment of mucormycosis patients as it demands a multidisciplinary approach," he said.
He said black fungus has a 50 percent mortality rate and is found in COVID-19 patients with suppressed immunity or co-morbidities. "A mucormycosis patient needs to be seen by various experts such as ENT, ophthalmologists, and neurologists among others. We are trying to cover most of the treatment under the Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (the state's flagship health scheme)," the minister said.
Commenting over the costly treatment, he said, "I will be writing to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to bring down the MRP of medicines needed for mucormycosis treatment." "Amphotericin-B is a key medicine required for the treatment of such patients. Haffkine (a state-run pharma firm based in Mumbai) is going to float a tender for one lakh injections of the drug," Tope said.
"Fifty mucormycosis patients are being treated at our hospital and 60 more are awaiting (treatment). They all came to our hospital in the last three weeks and have recovered from COVID-19 recently," said Mathur Savani, chairman of a Surat-based hospital on May 8. Meanwhile, two COVID-19 patients died due to mucormycosis in Maharashtra's Thane district, a health official said on Wednesday.
A 38-year-old patient from Mharal in Thane rural and another one from Dombivli town died of the fungal infection while undergoing treatment at different COVID-19 care centers in Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) limits, the civic body's health officer Dr. Ashwini Patil said.