Black fungus: K’taka govt permits medical college, district hospitals to provide treatment


PTI, May 24, 2021, 7:47 AM IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Sunday issued an order permitting all state-run medical college hospitals and district hospitals to provide suitable treatment for Mucormycosis or black fungus, with the state witnessing surge in infections.

Further, taluk hospitals with appropriate facilities and capacity have also been asked to take necessary measures to provide treatment.

Meanwhile, state’s Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said the state has recorded about 700 cases of black fungus infections in the last week, as he directed experts to find its sources, with doubts being expressed about oxygen supply, quality of piping and cylinders used for it.

According to the circular issued by the Additional Chief Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department Jawaid Akhtar, permission was given to medical college hospitals and district hospitals to provide treatment, as Mucormycosis cases are being reported from almost all the districts.

Earlier the government had issued a circular regarding treatment protocol for black fungus infections, under which only certain designated hospitals were allowed to provide the treatment.

Considering the rapid surge in black fungus infections in the state, DCM Narayan, who is also the head of the state’s COVID task force, directed the treatment protocol committee to track its source.

He held a meeting today with the treatment protocol committee and accordingly, a team of microbiologists will start to work towards this from Monday, his office said in a release.

The country used to record about 100 cases of black fungus a year earlier but the state has recorded about 700 cases in the last week, this surge has been the cause of anxiety, Narayan was quoted as saying in the release.

The factor of worry is, black fungus cases are not spotted in other COVID hit countries, but they are occurring only in India.

So, concern was expressed in the meeting to start tracking the source of the disease, he explained.

Dr Sampath Chandra Prasad Rao, skull surgeon, Manipal Hospital (Bengaluru) made the presentation about mucormycosis at the meeting and felt the probable reasons for the surge in black fungus may be contamination, either due to low-quality cylinders or low-quality piping system at the ICU level in hospitals.

It may also be caused because of contamination at the industry level from where the oxygen is being supplied or due to low standard of sterilization or any other such reasons.

Suspicion was raised that it may be due to usage of ordinary tap water in ventilators, Rao said, ”To meet the rise in demand, industrial oxygen is being procured in large quantity and questions have been emanated, about, whether the oxygen supplied from industries matches with the quality of medical oxygen or not. This could also be one of the reasons.” The DCM asked the microbiologists to record the clinical history of the patient affected by mucormycosis and to do the data analytics.

Simultaneously, he has also instructed to track the source of oxygen supply at the hospital, quality of piping and cylinders and quality of water used for ventilators, and also quality at the source point of supply at the industry/plant level also.

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