At least, four children have developed mucormycosis or commonly known as “black fungus”in Karnataka. Untill now, 1,370 patients have been identified of having affected with the disease in the state.
Children aged one year (male), four years (male), 11 years (male), and 14 years (female) have put the doctors in confusion as they claim that children it is very unlikely for children aged less than five years to be acutely diabetic.
As per official records, the data maintained by Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, one one-year old boy suffering from fungal infection has been admitted to Manipal Hospital and another four-year old boy has been admitted to Vikram Hospital. However, when contavted, Manipal Hospital denied of having any child under their care at their Old Airport Road Branch or Whitefield Branch. Vikram Hospital too denied of knowing anything about the same.
The current whereabouts of these children remain unknown.
The other two reported cases of paediatric mucormycosis were in Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital where a 14-year old girl from Ballari and an 11-year old boy from Chitradurga, having Type-1 acute juvenile diabetes had the fungal infection spread to their brain and eyes and consequently had to get their one eye each removed.
Dr Sunil Karanth, HoD, Critical Care, Manipal Hospital, told DH, “Picking up the problem early is very important. Every discharged Covid patient has to be examined by an ENT specialist. If it goes to the orbit of the eyes, then a very expensive surgery is required. Covid can lead to supressed immunity for a very long time. The balance needs to be right.”
“Due to Covid, both these cells are suppressed and patients are at a higher risk of developing a fungal infection. Mucor fungus is present everywhere and we can’t eliminate it from the environment. The fact that more children are getting the fungal infection means we’re getting a true picture of how many children have been exposed to the Covid virus,” he said.
Health Minister Sudhakar said, “Mucormycosis is treatable. In some cases, removal of the eye becomes inevitable to weed out even the tiniest trace of infection so that it does not invade the brain.