NEW DELHI: States across India ordered emergency measures Thursday to counter a surge in the rare deadly “black fungus” infection among coronavirus sufferers. Two new states declared epidemics of Mucormycosis while New Delhi and other major cities have opened special wards to treat thousands of cases of the infection commonly known as black fungus.
India normally deals with less than 20 cases a year, but the infection has become a new threat from the coronavirus wave that has killed 120,000 people in six weeks.
The infection, which some doctors have blamed on the high use of steroids to combat Covid-19, kills more than 50 percent of sufferers within days. In some cases, eyes and upper jaws are removed by surgeons to save lives.
Authorities have not said how many people have died from black fungus.
But a government alert to state authorities on Thursday said teams of reconstruction and general surgeons as well as ear, nose and throat specialists had to be readied to treat the growing number of sufferers.
Gujarat and Telangana states became the latest to declare black fungus epidemics, a day after Rajasthan.
Maharashtra state has reported more than 2,000 cases. Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has about 1,200, officials said.
Ahmedabad civil hospital, one of Gujarat’s biggest, was treating 371 cases, according to a spokesman. Health officials said there were about 400 cases in the government hospital in the city of Rajkot. New Delhi set up special wards at three hospitals to cope with increased black fungus numbers.
There are more than 200 black fungus patients in New Delhi hospitals, with dozens on waiting lists for beds, according to media reports. The IT hub of Bangalore opened special wards on Wednesday which filled within hours, doctors said.