Woman dies of mucormycosis in Ranchi, first black fungus death in state after July 31
A 58-year-old woman, suffering from mucormycosis, died at the trauma centre of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on Saturday after the fungal infection spread to her brain in barely two days since her hospitalization, leaving doctors with no time to plan a surgery.
“Her condition deteriorated quite abruptly. I saw pictures of her clicked on September 26, and she looked fine in them,” said Dr Pradip Bhattacharya, in-charge of the trauma centre at RIMS. “She was admitted here on September 29 after she could not open her eyes. We sent her samples for tests and were preparing for surgery, but her condition continued to deteriorate as she did not respond to medication,” he added.
This is the first mucormycosis casualty reported in Jharkhand since July 31, highlights data with the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The state reported at least eight cases of black fungus from August 1 to October 1, but all of these patients responded to medication and were discharged from hospitals.
Another patient of suspected mucormycosis was admitted to the old trauma centre of RIMS on Friday, doctors said. This patient was stable, but his hospitalization indicated a rise in cases of black fungus once again in the state, doctors added.
According to the latest update from IDSP shared on September 27, there were six active cases of mucormycosis in Jharkhand and five of these patients were undergoing treatment in Ranchi. The Gumla woman’s death on Saturday takes the mucormycosis toll in the state to 32.
“No mucormycosis casualties were reported at RIMS in the past couple of months. Even patients whose lungs were affected by the fungal infection have survived,” said Dr. Bhattacharya.
According to sources from RIMS, surgeons from different departments held a meeting to decide on the course of action in the treatment of the woman who died on Saturday. However, after examining her condition, the surgeons unanimously decided to keep her on medication and go for a surgery once her condition improved, sources added.
“Unfortunately, she did not respond to Amphotericin B, the anti-fungal drug commonly used for treating black fungus,” said a doctor from the new trauma centre at RIMS.
Mucormycosis or black fungus is a rare infection caused by exposure to mucor mould found in soil, plants, manure and decaying fruits and vegetables. The line of treatment includes surgery and administering anti-fungal drugs, mostly Amphotericin B. Jharkhand notified black fungus as an epidemic earlier this year following directions from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.