As many as 90 people have died of mucormycosis, a rare but fatal fungal infection, in Maharashtra so far, state public health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday. The cases of mucormycosis, also called Black Fungus, have been on rise since the outbreak of coronavirus last year, though the minister did not mention any timeframe.
He also warned against indiscriminate use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients. "So far, 90 people have died due to mucormycosis in Maharashtra. It is serious….it should not be taken lightly," he told reporters here.
"Indiscriminate use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients should be avoided," the minister added. Factors such as severe diabetes and suppression of immune system also lead to people catching the infection, Tope said.
According to medical experts, steroids which suppress immune system make a patient vulnerable to catching the fungal infection. "The Maharashtra government is prepared to tackle it and has prepared nine-page guidelines for doctors who treat mucormycosis patients. The guidelines also suggest preventive measures such as the use of sterilised or distilled water in humidifiers of oxygen supplying machines (in COVID-19 wards)," he said.
Compared to the first wave of coronavirus pandemic, there have been more cases of Black Fungus in the second wave, doctors have noted.