Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Monday said 111 cases of Mucormycosis, dubbed Black Fungus - a fungal infection prevalent among people who have recovered from COVID-19 - have been reported across the state.
The minister said that 25 of these cases have been reported in the government health facilities, while the remaining 86 have been reported from various private hospitals.
Black Fungus cases, said the Minister, were mainly found in the patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 or are immuno-compromised. Also, among patients who were on oxygen support for a long time or people having uncontrolled diabetes.
Mr Sidhu said that centre controlled the supply of drugs needed to treat the disease. There are two major injections available which are being provided to the states by Union Government, he said. One cannot procure these injections from the open market as their distribution is controlled by the centre, he added.
The Expert Group of the Punjab government, the Minister said, has finalised the treatment protocols and an expert committee has been formed to advice the treating hospitals/physicians the treatment protocols for Black Fungus.
Dr RPS Sibia, Professor & Head, Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala; Dr Sanjeev Bhagat, Professor & Head, Department of ENT, Government Medical College, Patiala; Dr Avtar Singh Dhanju, Associate Professor & Head, Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Amritsar; Dr AK Mandal, Director Pulmonology, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, Fortis Hospital, S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali); Dr Manish Munjal, Professor & Head, Department of ENT, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana; Dr Mary John, Professor & Head, Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana are expert committee members. Dr Gagandeep Singh Grover, State Program Officer (IDSP), is the convener of the committee.
Any hospital requiring advice on the treatment of the disease can approach this committee on e-mail (email@example.com) or on telephone number 8872090028 (Dr Gagandeep Grover), said the Minister.
Due to restricted supply, this committee would examine the requests and ensure that the basic requisite quantity of the medicine is provided to the hospitals which require these injections on priority for treating the Black Fungus patients, said the Minister.
Further, the Minister said all patients of this disease will have to be notified by the treating institution/physician as the disease is now a notified disease in the state.
Symptoms of Black Fungus can include facial pain or swelling, stuffy nose or brown nasal discharge, toothache, loose teeth, redness, pain or swelling of the eye, fever, shortness of breath, headache, altered sensorium, double or blurred vision, etc.
Anyone showing such symptoms should report to the nearest health facility at the earliest, the Minister stressed.