India has 8,848 cases of black fungus, says Centre

There are 8,848 cases of mucormycosis or “black fungus” across the country, Union minister Sadananda Gowda said on Saturday.

While black fungus cases have been seen in the country earlier, the current increase in infections is among people infected with coronavirus and those who have recovered from the disease.

The minister added that 23,680 additional vials of Amphotericin-B, the drug used to treat the black fungus infection, have been allocated to the states.

Gujarat has reported 2,281 cases of the fungal infection, the maximum in the country.

Maharashtra registered 2,000 cases of black fungus.

On Thursday, the Centre had asked the states and Union Territories to declare mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.

Black fungus is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. The symptoms of the infection include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion, and partial loss of vision, among others.

Medical experts said black fungus is an “opportunistic infection” – it latches on to people who are battling illnesses or are on medications that lower the body’s ability to fight infections.

One of the potential causes of the fungal infection is reportedly the use of steroids for Covid-19 treatment, which increases blood sugar levels.

The majority of mucormycosis infections have been seen in COVID-19 patients with diabetes or those with underlying and undetected high blood sugar.