1,196 cases of mucormycosis in T.N., more drugs required

Chennai has the most number of cases at 420

Tamil Nadu has so far reported 1,196 cases of mucormycosis in 25 districts. Chennai has the most number of cases, with 420 patients admitted in government and private hospitals.

According to officials of the Health Department, as of June 9, as many as 1,196 patients in the State have been affected by mucormycosis, while the total allocation of Liposomal Amphotericin-B from the Centre is 7,330 vials. “We received additional allocation on Wednesday. But we are still running short of the drug,” a health official said. Earlier, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had written to the Union Health Minister, seeking immediate allocation of at least 30,000 vials to the State.

As of June 9, a total 25 districts in the State have reported cases of mucormycosis — an invasive fungal infection affecting patients recovering from COVID-19. In Chennai, 380 patients have been admitted to government hospitals and 40 to private facilities. Madurai has 142 patients, while Salem has 139.

At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Dean E. Theranirajan said 10 to 20 patients were attending the mucormycosis clinic every day.

Authorities in government hospitals said they have managed to treat patients admitted with mucormycosis with the current supply of drugs.

A senior doctor said the number of vials of Liposomal Amphotericin-B supplied to the State was “woefully low”. Each patient requires 50 to 60 vials. “The supply is coming in small numbers. While Liposomal Amphotericin-B is not available, Amphotericin-B emulsion is. The former has less toxicity. The emulsion is a replacement, but needs watchful administration. We need to monitor renal function in patients. What we need is Liposomal Amphotericin-B,” he said.

Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan took to Twitter on Wednesday to point out the increased allotment of the drug to Karnataka when compared to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka, he said, had received nearly 40,000 vials so far. “Union Minister Sadananda Gowda, until recently, was releasing State-wise number of cases and allocation of vials. This has been stopped. There is no transparency with the Government of India. The allocation should at least be proportionate to the number of cases. The current allocation is very biased,” he said.

He said he had already written to the Union Health Minister to import the drug as ramping up domestic production would take time.

As far as cases were concerned, Mohan Kameswaran, managing director of the Madras ENT Research Foundation and a member of the task force constituted by the State government for mucormycosis, said, “There is an increase in the number of cases, and we are still seeing patients. It usually occurs a couple of weeks after exposure to COVID-19. So it will follow the pandemic and dip after some time.”

He, however, said patients were still coming in very late. “We have had patients who have come in with loss of vision. If a patient recovering from COVID-19, who is diabetic and was on steroids, develops pain in the face, sinuses, around the eyes or behind the eyes after a week or two, they should seek medical help immediately,” he said.

Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian told reporters on Thursday evening that the number of Liposomal Amphotericin-B vials allocated to the State had been increased to 9,520.

He added that the State had paid for 90,000 Posaconazole tablets that were prescribed as per ICMR guidelines. “Of these, we have received 42,000. We have 39,500 tablets in hand,” he added.

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