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Asteadyincreaseincasesofmucormycosis(popularlyknownasBlackFungus)andanallegedshortageofAmphotericin-BandPosaconazoleinjectionsiscausinganxietyamongpatientsandtheirrelatives. Thenumberofmucormycosispatients,whichstoodat35atKingGeorgeHospital(KGH),onMay25,hasmorethandoubled,andthenumberoftotalcases(includingthoseatprivatehospitals)inVisakhapatnamcrossedthe100-markinlessthan10days.Districtauthoritieshaveincreasedthenumberofbedstoensurethatthereisnoshortage,evenifthereisa10-foldincreaseinthenumberofcases. “Atotalof1,000bedshavebeenkeptreadyatvarioushospitalsinthecitytoaccommodatethegrowingnumberofpatientsbeingdiagnosedwithBlackFungus.TheAmphotericin-BinjectionsarebeingsuppliedtotheStatesbytheCentre.Wearemakingall-outeffortstoensurethatthereisnoshortageofinjections,”districtin-chargeMinisterKurasalaKannababutoldTheHinduoverphone.CollectorV.VinayChandsaidthatthetreatmentprotocolwasworkedoutforoptimumusageoftheavailabledrugs.Whilepatientswithsevereproblemswouldbegivenintravenousinjections,thosewithmildormoderatesymptomswouldbetreatedwithtablets.Atotalofsixpatientshavediedand113wereundergoingtreatmentformucormycosisasonJune2inVisakhapatnam. “Swellingofeyelids(oneside),redness,blurringandfallinvisionaresomeofthesymptoms.Paininandaroundtheeyeshouldbetakenseriouslybypatientsrecoveringpost-COVIDtreatment,”saysDr.G.HanumanthaRao,ProfessorandHODofOphthalmology,MaharajaInstituteofMedicalSciences(MIMS)atVizianagaram. “COVID-19AssociatedMurcormycosis(CAM)canbetreatedwithLiposomalAmphotericinBorPosaconazoleinjections.Injectionsshouldbeusedinthefirstphase,followedbyoralformulations,”saysDr.VeluriGayathri,ProfessorofMicrobiology,NRIInstituteofMedicalSciences. “COVID-19patientswithpoorbloodglucosecontrol,highdoseorprolongedusageofsteroidsandthosewithhighlevelsofblood‘ferritin’arevulnerabletoCAM,”shesays. “Thehighprevalenceoffungalinfectioninpost-COVIDpatientsisduetoindiscriminateuseofsteroidsandantibioticsforCOVIDtreatment,prophylacticuseofantifungalsandcontaminationofnasalprongsandpipelinesusedforoxygensupply,”saysDr.S.K.E.AppaRao,ENTsurgeonandformerpresidentofIndianSocietyofOtology.
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