40,845 cases of black fungus reported in India so far

40,845 cases of black fungus reported in India so far: Harsh Vardhan

The death toll from the infections stands at 3,129

Representative image. Credit: PTI file photo

Mucormycosis or black fungus infection has killed more than 3,000 Indians and 74 per cent of them belong to the economically productive age group of 18-60 years, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here on Monday.

Even though the second surge is on a decline in most of the states, mucormycosis continues to be a public health concern as more than 12,500 cases were added in the last 18 days.

As of now, there are 40,845 such cases reported during the second wave of the Covid-19, of which 64 per cent were co-morbid with diabetes and 53 per cent were on steroids. More than 85 per cent of those who developed the fungal infection also had Covid-19.

An age-profile analysis of the black fungus cases reveals that 32 per cent of the patients (13,083) are in the 18-45 years age group whereas 42 per cent (17,464) are in the 45-60 years group. Only 10,082 (24 per cent) patients were in the 60 plus category.

Read | 'Indian missions working to get mucormycosis drugs'

Appraising a Group of Ministers' on the Covid-19 situation, Vardhan said fatality from the fungus infections stood at 3,129 while in total 40,845 cases were reported, of which 31,344 cases were such in which the nose, paranasal sinuses and parts of the brain were adversely affected.

Earlier this month, the Centre had asked the states to prioritise young patients while treating mucormycosis with Amphotericin B, the drug of choice, which is in short supply.

Read | In the wake of India’s Covid crisis, a 'black fungus’ epidemic follows

In an advisory issued in consultation with the National Task Force on Covid-19 and the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Health Ministry identified two specific categories of patients for treatment with Amphotericin B. They are young people and patients for which surgical removal of damaged or infected tissues (surgical debridement) is not possible.

At the GoM meeting, Vardhan said Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the only states that are still reporting more than hundred deaths daily whereas the active cases are concentrated in Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha. More than 46,000 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

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