Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Wednesday said that analyses of health experts have indicated that diabetes is a major risk factor in the cases of Mucormycosis, commonly known as Black Fungus. He said that Amarinder Singh-led government in the state is committed to save the lives of patients suffering from Black Fungus in the same spirit as it has been fighting for prevention and control of COVID-19.
Mr Sidhu said that Punjab has reported 259 cases of Black Fungus so far, of which, 23 have been cured and 234 patients are under treatment in various hospitals of the state and 43 patients of Mucormycosis had died during the course of the disease.
The Health Minister informed that 25 per cent cases of Mucormycosis were in age group 18-45, 38 per cent in 45-60 and 36 per cent cases were in the age group of above 60 years. He said that about 80 per cent of the Mucormycosis cases were Covid cases and 87 per cent cases of Mucormycosis had Diabetes as a major risk factor. 32 per cent of the cases were immunocompromised.
Out of 43 patients who died, 88 per cent had COVID, 86 per cent had history of steroid intake and 80 per cent were diabetics, he added.
Mr Sidhu appealed to patients who tested positive for Covid or who had Covid in recent past and are diabetic to avoid steroids and should consult the doctors if they have nasal stuffiness, blackish discharge from nose or discoloration of the insides of mouth so that treatment could be initiated at the earliest.
Mr Sidhu pointed out that the Centre has supplied very less quantity of injection required to treat Black Fungus - Amphotericin -against the demand raised by the Punjab government. He said that an expert committee had advised the use of alternate drugs Posaconazole and Itraconzole which are being procured by the Punjab government.
Punjab Government has notified Mucormycosis under Epidemic Disease Act.