Mucormycosis: Gujarat sets up special wards in hospitals

Ahmedabad: Amid the rise in cases of mucormycosis or 'black fungus' infection among Covid-19 survivors, the Gujarat govt has started setting up separate wards in hospitals for such patients and has procured 5,000 vials of a medicine used for its treatment.

Gujarat has so far reported over 100 cases of mucormycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection which has left many patients blind and is also causing other serious issues.

Currently, 19 patients are undergoing treatment for it at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, as per the state government.

Two separate dedicated wards having 60 beds each have been set up at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for treating such patients, it said.

Similar facilities will also be set up at civil hospitals in Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and other places, the govt said in a release on Saturday after a core-committee meeting on Covid-19 situation under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

The state health department has also purchased 5,000 vials of Amphotericin B 50 mg injections at a cost of Rs 3.12 crore for its treatment, the release said.

In neighbouring Maharashtra, at least eight COVID-19 survivors have lost vision in an eye due to mucormycosis and 200 others are being treated, Dr Tatyarao Lahane, who heads the state government's Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said on Saturday.

Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul on Friday said mucormycosis is being found in patients with COVID-19 disease.

"The infection is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. To a large extent, it is happening to people who have diabetes. It is very uncommon in those who are not diabetic. There is no big outbreak and we are monitoring it," he had said.

According to Dr Paul, mucor attacks people with uncontrolled sugar.

If a diabetes patient is taking immuno-suppressive medicines, steroids, or has cancer, then the impact of mucormycosis is more on him/her.

The chances of getting this disease increase in such patients if they have been exposed to wet surfaces, he had said.

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