5,500 black fungus cases so far in country, 126 deaths, Health News, ET HealthWorld

5,500 black fungus cases so far in country, 126 deathsThe deadly black fungus or mucormycosis has affected close to 5,500 people across the country till Wednesday and killed 126 of them — with Maharashtra alone accounting for 90 deaths – even as many states are facing an acute shortage of liposomal amphotericin B, the anti-fungal drug required to treat the disease, which is increasingly being seen in Covid-19 patients.

With 14 mucormycosis deaths, Haryana’s casualties are second highest in the country after Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh has recorded eight deaths, all of them in Lucknow. The figures for the rest of the state are not available. Jharkhand has recorded four deaths while two deaths each have been reported from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Goa have reported one death each. Some states, however, said they have not collated data on mucormycosis cases and deaths yet.

A day after Rajasthan declared the disease an epidemic, Gujarat, too, followed suit on Thursday. Other states like Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have declared it a “notifiable disease” under the Epidemic Diseases Act, making it mandatory to report every mucormycosis case to the state government.

At least 10 states – Delhi, Telangana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala – said they have either run out of the drug or stocks are fast depleting. Some of these said there were no stocks in private pharmacies.

Maha accounts for over 70% of black fungus deaths in country
Maharashtra, which accounts for more than 70% of the black fungus deaths in the country, has recorded 1,500 cases. The state has been grappling with severe shortage of the liposomal amphotericin B drug since early April. “The state needs 1.50 lakh vials of the drug but has received only 16,000 vials from the centre,” said Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope. The Maharashtra government has floated a global tender to import the drug.

Gujarat, which has about 1,500 cases – though these are not official figures unlike other states — faces the same problem. Sources in the health department said only 10% of the affected patients are getting the injections.

Odisha was virtually left with no stock on Thursday and was waiting for some vials to be sent by the Centre on Friday.

Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar said the state has only 1,000-odd vials of amphotericin B and added that an order for another 20,000 vials has been placed.

Many states are now knocking on Centre’s doors or negotiating with pharma companies. “We have just 700 vials of liposomal amphotericin B left. We have spoken to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan asking for 50,000 vials. We are also in touch with eight pharma companies,” said Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma.

“We are in talks with the Centre as well as pharma companies. This is a new disease and production of the drug is low,” said MP medical education minister Vishwas Sarang.MP had placed orders for 24,000 vials but had received only 4,800 till Thursday. Kerala, which had 150 vials of the drug left on Thursday, also wrote to the Centre for more stocks.