Former tahsildar of Uthukuli who was under treatment for black fungus infection in a private hospital in Tiruppur died on Tuesday.
The infection was previously considered very rare but cases have ballooned during the pandemic, usually striking patients after recovery from COVID-19.
The state has not come up with plans to cover the cost of black fungus patients in private hospitals, as it did with Covid patients, through the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust.
The fungal infection has taken 16 lives so far even as the district administration is still struggling to reduce the high Covid infection rate.
The doctors said the hospital was currently scheduled to undertake 15 reconstructive plastic surgeries in the coming weeks for patients who had been affected from black fungus.
Even as Covid-19 spread has begun to slow down in Odisha, cases of mucormycosis or black fungus are on the rise.
Also, there is enough stock of Amphotericin-B, the drug required to treat black fungus patients, unlike the shortage witnessed in the months of May and June.
The head constable was admitted to a hospital for treatment, during which doctors had to remove one of his eyes, and soon when the infection started spreading fast, he lost the other eye as well.
The disease struck the highest number of people in 45–60-year age group, but even younger ones were not spared.
As many as 15 people have lost their eyesight due to mucormycosis (black fungus) at KIMS Hospital in Hubballi in the last two months.
As Black Fungus is not included under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana – the patients have to bear the expenses if the surgery is performed in private hospitals.
Vardhan also presented a snapshot of India's efforts to contain COVID-19.
The Union health ministry responded in detail to the query of an apex court bench about the steps being taken to ensure drug availability for Mucormycosis.
The team of doctors at the hospital from various specialisations — ophthalmology surgeons, plastic surgeon, ENT surgeons, dental and neuro surgeons — have worked together to treat the patients.
In all, 3,148 mucormycosis cases were reported in the state, it said. While 1,398 patients got cured, 1,513 are still undergoing treatment in various hospitals.