21st PGI-ICMR-WHO National Training Course on fungal infections

The 21st PGI-WHO-ICMR National Training Course was inaugurated today (30.5.2016) by Prof. Arunaloke Chakrabarti, Head, Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. He highlighted the present impact of invasive fungal infections across India. Recent studies predicted invasive candidiasis and mucormycosis at the rate of 540 and 140 respectively per 100,000 population in India, which are nearly 7-20 times higher compared to the developed world. Large number of patients in public sector hospitals, compromise in healthcare, lack of hand washing, construction in hospital premises without any protective covering from the patient area, misuse and over use of antibiotics and steroids, and tropical environment are main reasons for such high incidence. Post-tuberculosis treatment chronic pulmonary aspergillosis at the rate of 290,000 every year is also an important challenge. The high rate of mucormycosis is linked with uncontrolled diabetes in this country. India being diabetic capital of the world, the country has become capital of mucormycosis as well. Nearly 23% of patients with mucormycosis are unconscious of their high diabetes status while presented with advanced disease. Despite development of many diagnostic laboratories and increased awareness among clinicians, the death due to fungal disease remained >50% in this country. Largely this high mortality rate is due to delayed diagnosis, difficult microbe to kill, and patient could not afford antifungal drugs.


Dr. M R Shivaprakash, professor of PGI and coordinator of the course highlighted the course content to the delegate. PGI is running the course over 10 years – summer course for the faculty and winter course for the technical staff. The course has helped in development of nearly 100 diagnostic mycology laboratory across India. The course is sponsored by Indian Council of Medical Research and World Health Organization.


For the present course Prof. B M Hemashettar from Belgaum and Prof. Jayanthi Savio from St John’s Medical College, Bangalore have come to work as faculty of the course The 21st Training Course in Diagnostic Medical Mycology ‘Conventional and Molecular Techniques’ that started today (May 30, 2016) at Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh will continue for six days till June 4, 2016. Delegates have come from West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telengana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Chandigarh.

In the later part of the day Prof. A. Chakrabarti gave an overview of fungal diseases in India ‘A quick walk down the early road and to where we are today’. He also described the method of identification of mycelial fungi. Prof. M R Shivaprkash discussed ‘Approach for laboratory diagnosis of fungal infections’. Prof Jayanthi Savio discussed ‘Superficial fungal infections’ and Prof. B M Hemashettar delivered a lecture on ‘Sub-cutaneous fungal infections’. Other staff of mycology division worked as facilitators in the practical training of the delegates on ‘basic techniques in clinical mycology laboratory’, ‘techniques for identification of mycelial fungi’, and ‘identification of superficial fungal agents’


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