Srinagar: The Centre has allocated additional 200 vials of Amphotericin-B to Jammu and Kashmir to treat patients with Mucormycosis also known as black fungus.
An official document accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that 50 vials of Amphotericin-B have been allocated on May 31. This is in addition to the 150 vials allocated to Jammu and Kashmir in two different consignments.
On May 31, the Centre allocated 30100 vials of Amphotericin-B to all the 28 states and 8 union territories to control the spread of Mucormycosis, declared recently as a pandemic by India.
Prior to it, two consignments of Amphotericin-B vials reached Jammu and Kashmir including 100 vials on May 26 and 50 vials on May 28 out of 29,250 allocated to different states of India.
According to the data, Jammu and Kashmir has reported two deaths due to black fungus. Ten cases of blank fungus have been detected so far in the union territory. These eight black fungus patients are currently admitted to government hospitals for advanced treatment.
Mucormycosis is listed to be a very rare infection that is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It can be life-threatening and affects the sinuses, the brain, and the lungs. Doctors believe that the fungal infection which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, maybe triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.
Doctors have suggested as Amphotericin-B an essential drug for the treatment of Mucormycosis. The treatment of mucormycosis needs 5-7 vials per patient per day over 42 days or six weeks, about 250 vials per patient.
In India, Mucormycosis has emerged as another challenge in front of the Central government, which already has imposed lockdown in many states to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Jammu and Kashmir is not much affected by the disease so far. However, the government is not taking any chances.
A doctor said the availability of this drug is one of the essential strategies to prevent the spread of black fungus in Jammu and Kashmir. “The good news is that India has banned the export of this drug. The central government has started distributing it to the states based on the number of cases detected. We also should have this drug available to use in case of emergency,” he said.
Till May 26, India has recorded 11,717 cases of “Black Fungus” or Mucormycosis so far with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana logging the highest number of rare fungal infections.
It is pertinent to mention that Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday declared mucormycosis, commonly called black fungus an ‘epidemic’. The J&K Epidemic Diseases (Mucormycosis) Regulations make it mandatory for all government and private health institutions to report suspected and confirmed cases to the health department.