Making all-out efforts to ensure there is no shortage of injections, says Minister
A steady increase in cases of mucormycosis (popularly known as Black Fungus) and an alleged shortage of Amphotericin-B and Posaconazole injections is causing anxiety among patients and their relatives.
The number of mucormycosis patients, which stood at 35 at King George Hospital (KGH), on May 25, has more than doubled, and the number of total cases (including those at private hospitals) in Visakhapatnam crossed the 100-mark in less than 10 days. District authorities have increased the number of beds to ensure that there is no shortage, even if there is a 10-fold increase in the number of cases.
“A total of 1,000 beds have been kept ready at various hospitals in the city to accommodate the growing number of patients being diagnosed with Black Fungus. The Amphotericin-B injections are being supplied to the States by the Centre. We are making all-out efforts to ensure that there is no shortage of injections,” district in-charge Minister Kurasala Kannababu told The Hindu over phone.
Collector V. Vinay Chand said that the treatment protocol was worked out for optimum usage of the available drugs. While patients with severe problems would be given intravenous injections, those with mild or moderate symptoms would be treated with tablets. A total of six patients have died and 113 were undergoing treatment for mucormycosis as on June 2 in Visakhapatnam.
“Swelling of eyelids (one side), redness, blurring and fall in vision are some of the symptoms. Pain in and around the eye should be taken seriously by patients recovering post-COVID treatment,” says Dr. G. Hanumantha Rao, Professor and HOD of Ophthalmology, Maharaja Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) at Vizianagaram.
“COVID-19 Associated Murcormycosis (CAM) can be treated with Liposomal Amphotericin B or Posaconazole injections. Injections should be used in the first phase, followed by oral formulations,” says Dr. Veluri Gayathri, Professor of Microbiology, NRI Institute of Medical Sciences.
“COVID-19 patients with poor blood glucose control, high dose or prolonged usage of steroids and those with high levels of blood ‘ferritin’ are vulnerable to CAM,” she says.
“The high prevalence of fungal infection in post-COVID patients is due to indiscriminate use of steroids and antibiotics for COVID treatment, prophylactic use of antifungals and contamination of nasal prongs and pipelines used for oxygen supply,” says Dr. S.K.E. Appa Rao, ENT surgeon and former president of Indian Society of Otology.
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