Mumbai: ENT surgeon Dr Nishit Shah stressed the need to increase the supply of antifungal drugs to tackle the growing cases of mucormycosis or black fungus in the city. “The situation is deeply worrying. We receive two to three cases every day in our center (at the Bombay hospital) which need to be operated on, and the phone calls are far too numerous, ”Dr Shah told TOI on Sunday.
Until last week, the disease has affected nearly 5,500 people across the country and claimed 126 lives, including 90 in the state, according to reports.
Urging Mumbaikars not to panic, Dr Shah said: “Patient analysis … and medical follow-up will help overcome the crisis. Surgery is as important as medication to contain mucormycosis. Citizens should seek medical attention promptly following symptoms such as swelling of the cheeks or pressure on the eyes, he added.
Describing the sudden upsurge in mucormycosis as “amazing,” Dr Shah said, “It’s a bit strange that the black fungus is confined to India.” Emphasizing that the disease has been detected primarily in Covid-19 patients who may have received steroids without medical supervision, he said: “Heavy steroids and high blood sugar are a deadly combination. It could trigger a black fungus. Authorities should ensure that steroids are administered under strict medical supervision. Patients’ blood sugar levels should also be closely monitored.
Stating that the government of Maharashtra and BMC were “responsive enough” to the enormity of the mucormycosis, Dr Shah said the shortage of drugs was a matter of concern.
The government of Maharashtra has urged the Center to provide an adequate quota of antifungal injections to the state. – Ambarish Mishra