Fifty cases of mucormycosis fungal infection or "black fungus" have been reported in Covid patients in Madhya Pradesh and are of huge concern for the state government, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said today.
"Cases of black fungus infection are emerging which are very horrific. They are a cause for concern. So far, 50 cases have been confirmed," Mr Chouhan said.
A rash of cases of rare black fungus infection has been reported among people who have either recovered or are recovering from COVID-19. The infection is caused by exposure to mucor mould and it affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening.
The symptoms of this rare infection include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision. In extreme cases, the affected parts have to be surgically removed.
In neighbouring Maharashtra, the government says there could be over 2,000 cases of black fungus. Two people died in Thane near Mumbai yesterday.
Mr Chouhan said his government would develop detailed protocol for treatment of the mucormycosis infections. He added that the government would fully fund the treatment of economically weaker patients.
"We need to be alert at the outset about the cause, symptoms, treatment and prevention of the condition," said the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.
The central government has said it is engaging with drug manufacturers to ramp up the production of an antifungal drug to treat mucormycosis.