BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Covid-19 spread has begun to slow down in Odisha, cases of mucormycosis or black fungus are on the rise. As many as 129 persons have been affected in the State and 18 succumbed to the disease so far.
Health department sources said black fungus has been reported from 26 districts in the last two months. Ganjam and Khurda districts have reported 21 cases each, followed by eight cases from Balasore, seven each from Angul and Cuttack, six each from Bargarh and Sundargarh. Since the recovery of such patients takes time, only 12 have recovered so far. The shortage of the antifungal drug - Liposomal Amphotericin B has only added to the problems.
A patient needs 300 mg Amphotericin B (six vials) per day and at least 5 gm for completion of medical therapy. While 99 patients undergoing treatment need at least 990 vials of Amphotericin B, the State has a stock of around 750 vials of the injections. As the drug is not available adequately, the Centre had recommended another drug Posaconazole as an off-label treatment of mucormycosis but it has few takers. In the case of Posaconazole, Odisha has a stock of 840 vials of injection and 1,000 tablets.
The first case of black fungus was detected at SUM Ultimate Medicare on May 10. The hospital that had stopped taking black fungus patients due to a shortage of drugs has started admitting patients from Sunday.
Head of ENT and Skull Base Surgery Dr Radhamadhab Sahu said, “Early diagnosis and a cocktail of complete surgery and proper medical management with every day endoscopic evaluation with minor debridement is the key to successful treatment of black fungus,” he added.
Health authorities stressed that the State government has created facilities in the medical colleges and some district headquarters hospitals where the treatment of mucormycosis cases is being done free of cost. Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra said the number of black fungus cases in Odisha is less as compared to other states.
Even as the health authorities assured of every possible help for the patients, the ground situation remains grim with the relatives of patients complaining about the shortage of the antifungal drug. They alleged only 30 vials are provided to each patient against the requirement of 100 vials.