India has reported over 28,200 cases of the deadly fungal infection known as mucormycosis, the country’s health minister said on Monday.
“From 28 states we have some 28,252 cases of mucormycosis till now. Out of this, 86%, or 24,370 cases, have a history of COVID-19 and 62.3%, or 17,601, have a history of diabetes,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said in a meeting with a group of ministers.
Along with a devastating COVID-19 wave, India is also battling a new challenge in the form of mucormycosis – a fungal disease with a high mortality rate that is commonly referred to as “black fungus.”
Vardhan said the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat have the highest incidence of the fungal infection, which mainly affects the sinuses, lungs, and brain, and can prove particularly dangerous for people with diabetes and weak immune systems.
“The highest number of cases – 6,329 – have been recorded in Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat with 5,486, and then Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh," he said.
Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, is also the region hit hardest in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Arunaloke Chakrabarti, a leading microbiologist who heads the Center of Advanced Research in Medical Mycology in northern India, said the mucormycosis crisis is showing signs of abating.
“The situation has started to improve because we are seeing better figures from the worst-hit states of Maharashtra and Gujarat,” he told Anadolu Agency.
A decline has also been seen in India’s daily COVID-19 figures over recent days, leading authorities to start a phase-wise easing of restrictions in some regions, including the capital New Delhi.
A total of 100,636 new cases were reported on Monday, the country’s lowest daily spike in two months, and 2,427 more fatalities.
The overall tally is now close to 29 million, including a nationwide death toll of 349,186, according to official figures.