HYDERABAD: A nationwide study on ‘Covid-19-associated rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis,’ popularly known as the black fungus infection, has flagged ‘disproportionately more’ number of cases of the infection in Telangana.
The study, published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, took into consideration 2,826 cases of black fungus infections recorded in the period from January 1, 2020, to May 26, 2021, that were self-reported by 102 hospitals across 22 States and Union Territories. The study also looked into the State-wise data provided by the Central government
Among the 2,826 cases, Telangana had the seventh-highest cases at 118 and as per the Central government data provided for the first week of June, Telangana had 744 active cases of black fungus — fifth highest in the country. This comes as a surprise as the number of Covid-19 cases reported by the Telangana government are very low — lower than 15 other states in the country.
More black fungus cases in Telangana than Tamil Nadu, Kerala
A nationwide study on ‘Covid-19-associated rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis,’ published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, has found that compared to their respective Covid numbers, Telangana has reported disproportionately higher cases of black fungus than Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
TN and Kerala have reported 24.4 lakh and 28.4 lakh Covid-19 cases, respectively, compared to 6.1 lakh cases reported by Telangana. However, the number of black fungus infections reported in the study by the two States were 63 and 7, respectively.
Speaking to Express, Dr Santosh G Honavar, Director, Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology at Centre for Sight, said, “The disproportionately more number of Covid-associated mucormycosis in Telangana might be because of under-reported cases of Covid-19 or due to the fact that many patients from the neighbouring States come to Hyderabad for treatment.”
Another ophthalmologist from the city who contributed to the study, said, “The number of people getting treated by RMPs in Telangana is very high and they prescribe disproportionately high doses of steroids.”
Dr Honavar pointed out that Covid-19 patients, especially those who are diabetic and prescribed steroids, were at a higher risk of mucormycosis. Such patients must take extra precautions like avoiding damp areas and wearing a mask even at home for up to six weeks to two months after recovering.