Saturday, September 18, 2021

111 cases of mucormycosis (black fungus infection) reported in Punjab

111 cases of Mucormycosis (Black Fungus Infection) have been reported from various parts of Punjab up till Monday. This was revealed by Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu. He said that 25 of these cases have been reported in the Government health facilities, whereas the remaining 86 have been reported from various Private hospitals.

Health Minister further informed that these cases are mainly found in the patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 or are immuno-compromised (suffering from HIV or Cancer etc.) or the patients recovered from COVID with help of steroids/immuno-modulators, patients who were on oxygen support for long time or people having uncontrolled diabetes.

Mr. Sidhu said that to treat this disease, anti-fungal drugs are required and the supply of these drugs is regulated by the Central Government. There are two major injections available which are being provided to the states by Union Government. No one can procure these medicines from the open market directly as their distribution is under the sole purview of Government of India.

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Health Minister informed that Expert Group of Punjab Government has finalised the treatment protocols and an expert committee has been formed to advice the treating hospitals/physicians as per treatment protocols for Mucormycosis.  The expert committee comprises Dr R.P.S. Sibia, Prof & Head, Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala, Dr Sanjeev Bhagat, Prof & Head, Department of ENT, Government Medical College, Patiala, Dr Avtar Singh Dhanju, Associate Prof & Head, Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr A.K. Mandal, Director Pulmonology, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, Fortis Hospital, S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali), Dr Manish Munjal, Prof & Head, Department of ENT, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, Dr Mary John, Prof & Head, Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana and Dr. Gagandeep Singh Grover, State Program Officer  (IDSP) as the convener of the committee.

Mr. further said that any treating hospital requiring advice on the treatment of this disease can approach this committee on e-mail address mucorpunjab@gmail.com or on mobile no. 8872090028 (Dr. Gagandeep Grover). Any hospital requiring Inj. Liposomal Amphotericin-B and Inj. Amphotericin-B can also approach this committee and injections shall be made available subject to the availability from Government of India since these drugs are regulated by GoI. However, at present 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 patients of Mucormycosis (Black Fungus Infection) admitted with them.

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He said that all patients of this disease will have to be notified by the treating institution/physician as the disease is now a notified disease in Punjab state.

Mr. Balbir Sidhu further stated that symptoms of Mucormycosis (Black Fungus Infection) 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.

If anyone has any such symptoms, he/she should report to nearest health facility at the earliest, he added.

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