111 black fungus cases found in Punjab so far: Health Minister Sidhu

Chandigarh, May 24 (PTI) A total of 111 cases of black fungus have so far been reported from several parts of Punjab and an expert group has finalised the treatment protocols for the disease, state Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Monday.

He said 25 of these cases were reported from government health facilities, while the remaining 86 from various private hospitals.

'Black fungus cases are mainly found in patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 or are immune-compromised (suffering from HIV or Cancer etc.) or the patients recovered from Covid with help of steroids/immuno-modulators, those who were on oxygen support for long time and people having uncontrolled diabetes,' the minister said in an official statement here.

Sidhu said antifungal drugs are required to treat this disease and the supply of these medicines is regulated by the central government.

Two injections are being provided to the states by the Union government in the treatment of black fungus. No one can procure these medicines from the open market directly as their distribution is under the sole purview of Government of India, he stated.

The health minister informed that an expert group of the state government has finalised the treatment protocols and an expert committee has been formed to advise the treating hospitals and physicians in accordance with the treatment protocol for mucormycosis or black fungus.

The expert committee comprises Dr R.P.S. Sibia, Professor and Head, Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala and Dr Sanjeev Bhagat, Head, Department of ENT, Government Medical College, Patiala, among other doctors.

Any hospital requiring injections Liposomal Amphotericin-B and Amphotericin-B can also approach this committee and it shall be made available subject to the availability from Government of India.

However, at present due to restricted supply, this committee would examine requests and ensure that the basic requisite quantity of the medicine is provided to hospitals which require these injections on priority for treating the patients of black fungus.

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 of Punjab.

Sidhu further stated that symptoms of 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.

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

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