The rapidly spreading mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus, is now affecting children as well. In Karnataka, a 14-year-old girl from Ballari and 11-year-old boy from Challakere in Chitradurga district have been found to be infected with mucormycosis.
Both, children of farm labourers, are set to lose one eye to the infection.
“These are the first instances of paediatric mucormycosis in Karnataka. Both the children have Type 1 diabetes that was diagnosed only a fortnight ago. The infection has spread to the brain and eyes in both the children. We have referred them to NIMHANS,” said Chikkanarasa Reddy, professor of Paediatrics at Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute, the designated hospital where the children are being treated.
“The boy, who was first taken to a private hospital in Tumakuru for fever and exertion, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and past infection of COVID-19 (through an antibody test) there. He was then referred to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Bengaluru from where he was sent to Bowring Hospital on May 27,” Dr. Reddy told The Hindu on Saturday.
The girl, who was admitted for COVID-19 at Ballari district hospital, developed pain in the eyes at the time of discharge. Doctors, who suspected fungal infection, referred her to Bowring Hospital on Saturday, he said.
Sent to NIMHANS
“While the boy, who was sent to NIMHANS on Friday for draining out the pus from the abscess, has been referred back to Bowring Hospital on Saturday, we sent the girl to NIMHANS late on Saturday night after her MRI reports suggested pus formation in the brain,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that both the children have severe infection in the eyes and will lose vision in one eye. We will have to surgically remove one eye in both the children,” he said. “As the parents are farm labourers and not familiar with Bengaluru, we have taken personal care to shift them to NIMHANS and bring them back,” the doctor added.
Although there is a shortage of Liposomal amphotericin B, the antifungal drug used in treatment of mucormycosis, the hospital has adequate stocks to manage the treatment of the children so far, the doctor said. “As there is brain involvement in both the children, they may need to be closely monitored for at least two weeks. The next one week is crucial,” Dr. Reddy added.