NEW DELHI: The country has reported 40,845 cases of mucormycosis or black fungus during the Covid second wave so far, nearly 85% of which have been seen as in coronavirus patients while the fungal disease has already claimed 3,129 lives.
These figures were shared by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in a meeting of the group of ministers on Covid on Monday.
Mucormycosis, a rare fungal disease that has reached epidemic proportions over the last few days, is said to be fuelled by the use of steroids, compromised immunity, and diabetes in Covid patients. The disease has caught attention as it has a high mortality rate and manifests itself severely through stark symptoms on the face, lungs and brain and often requires complicated surgeries.
The data presented in the Monday meeting showed that while 34,940 patients or 85.5% -- out of total diagnosed with black fungus -- had Covid, 26,187 or about 64.11% were co-morbid for diabetes. Also, 31,444 of the cases were rhinoorbital in nature meaning the patients had infection in and around the nasal cavity.
However, only about 21,523 (52.69%) of those infected were on steroids and the disease distribution age group wise showed that it struck the highest number of people in 45–60-year age group but even younger ones were not spared.
For instance, 13,083 patients were in the age group 18-45 (32%), 17,464 were in the age group 45-60 (42%) while 10,082 (24%) patients were 60+ years of age.
During the meeting, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava underlined that the second wave has still not subsided as 80 districts still have high positivity. The official, therefore, advised against any laxity at this stage while assuring that the existing Covid vaccines have been found effective against the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants.