Black Fungus Case Reported In Odisha; Govt Says Diagnosis & Treatment Readily Available


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has assured that the facilities for diagnosis and treatment of Mucormycosis are readily available after an isolated case of ‘Black Fungus’ infection was reported in the state on Monday.

“The case has not been reported from COVID hospitals yet. In this case, the source of the infection was water stored in a cooler,” Additional Chief Secretary (Health), PK Mohapatra informed.

“The growth of this fungus is on damp surfaces. This has not contracted from hospitals,” he added.

The Health & Family Welfare Department observed that people are apprehensive about the increased incidence of Mucormycosis- a fungal disease following reports through social & press media and also detection of a case in one hospital of Odisha.

According to the health department ACS, Mucormycosis is a general term for infections caused by a group of filamentous fungi called mucorales (black fungus). Mucorales are commonly found throughout the environment and in decaying organic matter, soil, compost, and animal excreta; particularly in  wet environment.

The situation is being monitored and the treatment for Mucormycosis is available, said Mohapatra.

This comes a day after a leading private hospital in Delhi flagged the rising number of COVID-triggered Mucormycosis or black fungus cases.

The conditions likeHIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes mellituscancers , kidney failure, organ transplant, long term corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy, increases the risk of this disease and the pre disposing factor for most of the cases prior to Covid 19 pandemic.It is rare in persons with normal immunity.

As of 2021, steroids, Tocilizumab, Itolizumab etc. are used to reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19. But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients. It’s thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering factors in some cases of Mucormycosis. But still it is uncommon. Head of the national Covid-19 taskforce Dr.VK Paul on 07.05.2021in media release has clarified this issue and told that this is not a big outbreak at present.

Early detection, timely diagnosis and treatment are most important. The drugs required for treatment of this disease like amphotericin B or posaconazole are readily available.

Whoever has diabetes needs to control the sugar level always. We are promoting the administration of steroids but they should not be given at the onset of COVID-19.

Steroids should not be taken unnecessarily and can be given after the sixth day / when there will be oxygen requirement, only under prescription of a doctor.

Similarly, Tocilizumab and Itolizumab should only be decided when required as it can be dangerous. Finally public should be assured that the facilities for diagnosis and treatment are readily available in the state, the Health ACS further said.

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