In August, the state reported 161 cases of mucormycosis despite a drop in Covid-19 infections. However, August cases were a massive decline over 5,644 reported in May, 2,653 in June and 675 in July.
Dr Pradeep Vyas, additional chief secretary (health), said over 1,700 people continue to be under treatment for mucormycosis in the state. The fungal infection that saw an exponential surge in the second wave has affected 10,104 people so far. “Mucormycosis has a mortality rate of 20%. In advanced cases, people also have to go through debilitating surgeries such as removal of eyes, jaws, which causes disfigurement. We need to remain vigilant, prevent it and detect them early,” he said.
While the mortality rate for mucormycosis is maybe 20% for the state, certain districts saw a much higher death rate. Palghar had the highest death rate (45.4%) as five of the 11 confirmed mucormycosis cases succumbed to it. Washim, Ratnagiri, Satara and Jalgaon recorded a fatality rate of more than 21%. Mumbai, too, saw a mortality rate of 20% as 136 people died out of 680 admissions. In absolute numbers, Nagpur saw 467 deaths, the highest in the state.
Dr Rahul Pandit, member of Covid-19 task force, believes the misuse of steroids and patients with uncontrolled sug-ar levels created a fertile ground for mucormycosis. “80% of the patients had uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Hence, monitoring sugar levels must be the sixth important parameter, in addition to temperature, BP, pulse rate, oxygensaturation and respiratory rate checks,” he said. But Dr Vasant Nagvekar, an infectious disease expert, believes that the Delta variant caused massive immune suppression.