Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said dedicated centres will be set up for treatment of black fungus or mucormycosis at three Delhi government-run hospitals.
He discussed the rise in cases of black fungus with officials and specialists at a high-level meeting, attended by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev.
'Three important decisions were taken at the meeting. Centres will be set up at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital for treatment of black fungus,' he tweeted.
There will be a special team of doctors deployed at each centre for efficient functioning, a government statement said.
The drugs used in the treatment of the fungal infection will be arranged in enough quantity, the chief minister said.
Kejriwal said Delhi is the capital of the country so people from outside the city also come here for treatment.
"We should have sufficient medicines to cater to the need of everyone coming for the treatment of black fungus. We have to stop the spread of the disease and give best possible treatment to those suffering from it," Kejriwal said.
The city government will also procure the required drugs from the central government.
"We have to stop the spread of the disease and give the best possible treatment to those suffering from it," Kejriwal said.
The city government will also prepare a detailed plan and issue special SOPs on how to raise awareness among COVID-recovered people for the prevention of the disease.
Kejriwal also appealed to doctors to use steroids in a controlled manner. Patients should take care of their sugar levels.
The combination of steroids and sugar is leading to a rise in number of black fungus cases, he told reporters in the evening.
The chief minister said the city government has set up a four-member team for efficient distribution of Amphotericin-B injection, used in treatment of mucormycosis, among hospitalized patients.
The committee had received 84 applications for injections on Wednesday, he said and hoped that the Centre will provide Delhi sufficient number of injections.
The Union Health Ministry has urged states and Union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals in Delhi have reported increased number of back fungus cases among those recovering from COVID-19 during the second wave of coronavirus and it could be ascribed to 'irrational use of steroids at home without consulting doctors', medical experts have said.
The fungal infection, which affects the brain, lungs, and sinuses, can be lethal to those suffering from diabetes and having compromised immune systems.
According to Suresh Singh Naruka, senior consultant, ENT, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, mucormycosis is more among people with low immunity due to diabetes, kidney disease, liver disorder, old age, cardiac issues, or those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
"If such patients are administered steroids, their immunity reduces further, allowing the fungus to thrive," he said.
Yudhyavir, Assistant Professor (anaesthesiology and critical care), AIIMS, noted that Amphotericin-B used in the treatment of mucormycosis is not commonly available and is manufactured in lesser quantities.
"Before COVID-19, the drug was not being used much. Now, its demand has risen, leading to its shortage," he said.
He said steroids reduce inflammation in lungs, but also reduce immunity and increase blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic COVID-19 patients. This is leading to an explosion in the number of black fungus cases.
Mohit Agarwal, additional director and Head of Medical Oncology Department, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said the large number of black fungus cases this year can be attributed to the high COVID-19 caseload, more 'severe cases' during the second wave and irrational use of steroids at home without consulting doctors.