Saturday, June 26, 2021

Pestilences: Outbreak Of 'Black Fungus' Surges In India

Outbreak of deadly black fungus surges in India with thousands blinded or disfigured

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a deadly new outbreak of “black fungus” infections is surging in India.

A few dozen cases of mucormycosis fungal infections were recorded in May, but Indian news channel NDTV reports the number of cases has now risen to 31,000. The fungus has claimed over 2,000 deaths.

The fungus can take hold in the stomach, lungs or bloodstream but has its most devastating effect when it infects the nasal passages and sinuses – from where it can easily affect the eyes and brain.

In addition to the growing death toll, many patients are being blinded. "Previously if I saw one patient a year, I now see about one a week," said Nishant Kumar, an eye specialist at Hinduja hospital in Mumbai.

Manchester University professor David Denning, an expert at the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections, told Reuters: “There have been cases reported in several other countries - including the UK, U.S., France, Austria, Brazil and Mexico, but the volume is much bigger in India”.

The Indian government has ordered all states to classify mucormycosis as an epidemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the fungus is a "new challenge".

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