13 out of every 1,000 Gujarat Covid patients had mucormycosi
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The mucormycosis outbreak during the second wave still gives nightmares to many. Data tabled in Rajya Sabha on July 20 revealed that India recorded 45,374 cases of Covid-19-mucormycosis infection, of which 35% were recorded from Maharashtra (9,348) and Gujarat (6,731) alone. Gujarat had the second highest mortality at 656 patients after Maharashtra (1,129), accounting for 15% of India’s total deaths.

Analysis of the Covid-19 cases vis-à-vis MM cases, however, revealed Gujarat recorded higher prevalence of ‘black fungus.’ According to state government figures, Gujarat recorded 5.15 lakh Covid-19 cases between April 1 and June 30 – meaning 13 out of every 1,000 Covid-19 patients got the infection. The number is much higher compared to Maharashtra which had a prevalence of 0.3%, and national average of 0.2%.

Dr Amit Vishwakarma, a senior ENT surgeon, said multiple factors were responsible. “Gujarat is long considered the diabetes capital of India, and it was found to be a major comorbidity among Covid-19 patients. The low immunity of the Covid-recovered patients gave way for proliferation of the fungus. Further study of MM patients from Gujarat may give some insight into why it was reported more from two neighbouring states,” he said.

Dr Atul Patel, infectious diseases specialist and member of Gujarat Covid-19 task force, said ongoing study of MM in Covid-19 patients points out that environmental factors could have played a larger-than-acknowledged role. There is a distinct possibility that environmental factors like high presence of fungal spores in Gujarat and Maharashtra during that time led to greater manifestation.

State-based doctors also said that Gujarat reported higher numbers compared to other states where several patients did not go to a formal hospital setting for the infection. Gujarat had a 9.7% mortality rate in MM, compared to the national average of 9.5%. The recovery rate for the state was 68%. Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad has the highest number of MM cases in Gujarat, with 20 active patients. "We are getting at least one case every day, primarily for re-surgery from Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra," said a senior official.