Black Fungus causes 5 deaths in 1 month

‘J&K now in a better position to treat mucormycosis’
A doctor examines a suspected mucormycosis (black fungus) patient [Image used for representational purpose only]
A doctor examines a suspected mucormycosis (black fungus) patient [Image used for representational purpose only]Source: ANI

Srinagar, June 13: Five people have lost their lives to mucormycosis in J&K in the past one month, official figures reveal. With all these deaths reported in Jammu region, six districts in the division are struggling with the emerging cases of the fungal infection.

J&K Government declared Black Fungus an epidemic on 24 May after its cases started emerging in various parts of the UT among patients who had either recovered from COVID19 or were undergoing treatment for the viral infection.

In the past three weeks, 19 cases of Black Fungus have been identified, government data reveal. Of the deaths attributed to it, two have taken place in district Jammu, two in Kathua and one in Poonch. These three districts have borne the brunt of this disease, though the cases of this infection have been reported from four other districts also.

Moreover, 10 suspected cases of the disease are admitted at various hospitals. Of the total 29 cases (suspected as well as confirmed), 24 are from Jammu division and five from Kashmir division. The mortality of the infection is over 17 percent. The latest cases came to fore on 12 June in Srinagar, official data states.

Black Fungus is a “notifiable disease” and all suspected and confirmed cases are reported to GoI. The Liposomal Amphotericin B vials have been in short supply across the UT along with other parts of India. A senior official said that the crisis of these drugs was also due to delay in reporting of these cases which resulted in shortfall in allocation.

"Most of these cases report to GMC Srinagar, GMC Jammu and SKIMS Soura," said the official. He said the cases get confirmative diagnosis of the infection with the multi speciality approach to investigating at these institutions. "The reporting and drug allocation is therefore interconnected," the official said.

Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo confirmed the five deaths in patients diagnosed with Mucormycosis in the past one month. He said the disease was a serious one, progressed fast and with high mortality. He said J&K had instructed aggressive and proactive approach towards it and sought timely identification of suspected cases, investigations and reporting.

He said the UT was now in a better position to treat Black Fungus due to reallocation done by Union Health Ministry. "There was some shortage earlier but we have overcome that now," he said.

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