C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fungal infections can be ‘fatal’
Monica Sharma

Fungi causes infection of skin, eye, blood and other organs. The symptoms include chronic cough. It is also manifested in patients suffering from fever without clinical reason. In Europe and the USA, about 13 per cent of the total population is suffering from infection of toes and nails.

FUNGAL infections can prove to be fatal if not diagnosed early. In fact, up to 7 per cent of the patients dying in tertiary care centres suffer from fungus infection known as “aspergillosis”. Early diagnosis and therapy can make a difference. But there are not many centres in the country for diagnosing fungal infections.

Cases of ringworm infection are highest in India. Over 30 per cent of the population is suffering from it, says a consultant with Centres for Disease Control (CDC) at Atlanta, Dr A. Padhye.

Dr Padhye, who was in Chandigarh to attend the fifth National Conference of the Society for Indian Human and Animal Mycologists, adds that in India there are just four to five well-equipped centres, including the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here. But every state should have a microbiologist for dealing with fungal infections. In UK there are only three reference centres. “But then there are 20 hospitals also with diagnostic fungal laboratories”, he reveals.

Giving details, the doctor asserts that there has been a significant increase of “opportunist fungal infections” during the past decade as the population of patients with low immunity continues to grow in India. They are the ones suffering from AIDS and cancer and even those who have undergone organ transplant operations.

“In such patients, these infections do prove fatal if early diagnosis and therapy is not instituted,” he asserts. “As such awareness and high index of suspicion is required to make a prompt diagnosis of these fungal infections”.

He adds that the immune system gets disturbed due to virus, making a person susceptible to all kinds of infection in the process. “Over six million people are HIV positive in the country and may develop AIDS. Such patients can catch fungal infections like “candidos” and “cryptococcosis” resulting in fatality.

In charge of Finland's University of Helsinki's Department of Mycology, Dr M.Richardson, said in the majority of cases you catch fungal infections through the process of inhalation. You can also catch the infection from animals, including dogs and cats. Sometimes you can get infected through the soil.

Regarding remedy, the doctor says that anti-fungal antibiotics are prescribed to the patients. As diagnosis is very difficult, medicines, most of the times, are prescribed on the basis of clinical evidence.

“By using different creams, some of the fungal infections may disappear for awhile, but can surface again,” the doctor adds. “Amphotericin is a toxic antibiotic. Its administration should be monitored. Others medicines include ifraconazole and voriconazole. Caspofungin is quite expensive. It may cause $ 1,000 a day.”



Kamlesh, Manpreet best athletes
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, March 14
Kamlesh of the 2003 batch and Manpreet of the 2002 batch were adjudged best athletes among girls and boys, respectively, in the 11th annual athletics meet of Government Medical College, Sector 32, which concluded today at Sector 46 sports complex. A Punjabi folk dance was performed by the students. Winners in different events are: 800 metres: Amit; 4x100 metres: Gaurika, Manishi and Kanika; javelin throw: Dr Shrikant Basu; 100 metres: Dr Usha Dalal; 4x100 metres: relay: Gurinder, Adarsh, Kavin, Gurpeeet; javelin throw: girls: Chakshu; triple jump: Saurabh; 200 metres: Kamlesh; boys:Saurabh; 4x100 metres: boys: Gaurav, Manpreet, Gaganpreet and Manik; 100 m: boys: Saurabh Behal; girls: Kamlesh.

Bronze medal

City-based veteran athlete Gurdial Saini has won the bronze medal at the National Masters Athletics Meet in Hyderabad recently. He won the medal in the half marathon in the age group of 55 years and above with a timing of 1.33:57.



50 participate in run-for-fun

Panchkula, March 14
A “run-for-fun” was organised by the local branch of IndusInd Bank here today. Over 50 women participated in the event. The run was organised as part of International Women’s Day celebrations. The week-long celebrations include quiz contest, indoor games and a seminar on health and beauty, according to bank manager G.S. Rawat. The winners on Sunday — Ms Saroj, Ms Anu, Ms Mahajan, Ms Rohini, Ms Anuradha, Ms Preeti, Ms Rajpal, Ms Aditi and Ms Neha — were honoured by the bank. TNS


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