Black fungus: Karnataka allows district hospitals, medical colleges to treat infection

The decision comes after Karnataka reported 700 cases of Mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ last week.
Nurses inspecting patients in COVID-19 ward
Nurses inspecting patients in COVID-19 ward
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Karnataka government on May 23 issued an order permitting the state-run medical college hospitals and district hospitals across the state to treat Mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’. The government has further permitted taluk hospitals to provide necessary treatment if they have facilities required for the treatment. The move comes amid the surge in cases of Mucormycosis in the state. According to the circular issued by the Additional Chief Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department Jawaid Akhtar, permission was given as nearly all districts were reporting cases of the fungal infection.

Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had earlier said that the treatment of Mucormycosis will be started in Bowring Hospital, Bengaluru from May 17 on a pilot basis and then extended to district-level hospitals. In a corresponding development, Deputy Chief Minister, CN Ashwathnarayan had told the media that the state had recorded 700 cases of fungal infection in the past week. Experts have been directed by him to find the source(s) of the infection with doctors expressing doubts about oxygen supply, quality of piping and cylinders used for it.

Earlier, the government had issued a circular regarding treatment protocol for black fungus infections, under which only certain designated hospitals were allowed to provide the treatment. Considering the rapid surge in black fungus infections in the state, Deputy CM Ashwathnarayan, who is also the head of the state's COVID-19 task force, directed the treatment protocol committee to track its source.

An official release from the minister’s office mentioned that he held a meeting with the treatment protocol committee on May 23, and a team of microbiologists will work towards the cause from May 24. He was also quoted saying that the surge of black fungus cases has become a concern; more so, since it is being reported only in India.

The minister asked the microbiologists to record the clinical history of the patients affected by Mucormycosis and to carry out data analytics. Concurrently, he instructed to track the source of oxygen supply at the hospital, quality of piping and cylinders and quality of water used for ventilators, and also quality at the source point of supply at the industry and plant-level also.

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