Black fungus killed 303 in Karnataka who recovered from COVID-19
More than 300 people, who had fully recovered from the coronavirus, lost their life to mucormycosis in Karnataka. Over 100 of these deaths have been reported from state capital Bengaluru alone. Mucormycosis, also known as Black fungus, is a rare but potentially fatal fungal infection that emerged during India's devastating second wave of the pandemic earlier this year.
As on July 9, a total of 3,491 cases of mucormycosis had been reported in Karnataka, and the fatality rate stood at 8.6%. Bengaluru Urban saw the most number of infections at 1,109, followed by Dharwad (279), Vijayapura (208), Kalaburagi (196), and Belagavi (159). After Bengaluru, which reported the highest number of fatalities, Kalaburagi reported 23 deaths while Dakshina Kannada saw 20.
Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes. These fungi are naturally present in the environment, but they typically affect people who are on medication for certain health problems, which essentially weakens their immune system. Though symptoms depend on the part of the body impacted by the infection, they commonly include fever, pains, cough, shortness of breath, and vomiting.
Experts say misuse of steroids among coronavirus patients and use of contaminated water in oxygen therapy humidifiers could be the reasons behind the infection. A high sugar level is also suspected to be a cause, meaning that diabetics are at a greater risk.
However, the most number of deaths occurred between May and early June when there was an acute shortage of Liposomal Amphotericin B, the drug most commonly used to treat this infection. During that period, patients were given a single dose of the medicine in 2-3 days as against the recommended 5-7 doses per day, The Times of India reported citing sources.
As per the data released by the central government in late June, India had reported a total of 40,845 cases of mucormycosis. The death toll from the infection stood at 3,129 at that time, the government had said.
India had faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year. Daily cases in the country had peaked at 4,14,000 in May. The situation has since improved. In the past 24 hours, the country reported over 37,000 fresh cases and 724 deaths. However, experts have warned that a third wave of COVID-19 could hit India as early as next month.