Black Fungus declared ‘Notifiable Epidemic’ in several states after Centre’s advisory


NEW DELHI: Amid the growing number of mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ cases across the country, several states have declared it a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.

These states include – Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka, and Assam.

It may be noted that the Centre had on Thursday urged the states and Union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients.

In a letter, the Health Ministry said in recent times, a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection — mucormycosis — has emerged and has been reported among COVID-19 patients in many states, especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control.

“This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients,” Joint Secretary in the ministry Lav Agarwal said in the letter.

The treatment of this infection requires a multi-disciplinary approach consisting of eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeons, neurosurgeons and dental maxillofacial surgeons, among others, and the institution of the Amphotericin-B injection as an antifungal medicine.

“You are requested to make mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, wherein all government and private health facilities, medical colleges will follow the guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“And, make it mandatory for all these facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to the health department through the district-level chief medical officers and subsequently, to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP),” the letter stated.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to allow the eligible pharmaceutical companies to manufacture Amphotericin-B in the country.

After the Central government’s letter, these states have declared Black Fungus An ‘ Notifiable Epidemic’ 

Gujarat

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday declared Mucormycosis (Black Fungus) an epidemic in the state. “Govt and private hospitals/medical colleges treating the disease will have to follow guidelines by Union Health Ministry as well as ICMR for screening, diagnosis & treatment,” according to a statement by Gujarat CMO.

Tamil Nadu

Going in line with the advisory of the Central government, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday declared ‘black fungus’ or Mucormycois as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act after nine people were found to have been infected with it in the state. “Currently nine people are being treated for the disease, of which six are old cases and three, new ones. Seven of them are diabetic… all are stable,” health secretary J Radhakrishnan said.

Telangana

The Telangana government has declared mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. In a notification, the Telangana government said, “Fungal infection mucormycosis is hereby declared as a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.” “All government and private health facilities shall follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis and management of mucormycosis issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Indian Council of Medical Research,” it added.

Rajasthan

Mucormycosis (black fungus), which is primarily affecting people recovering from COVID-19, has been declared an epidemic in Rajasthan, officials said on Wednesday. Currently, the state has around 100 black fungus patients and a separate ward has been made at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur for their treatment. Mucormycosis has been notified as an epidemic and a notifiable disease in the state under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act 2020, according to a notification issued by the state’s principal health secretary Akhil Arora.

Odisha

The Odisha government also declared mucormycosis, a rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds, as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the health and welfare department said in a statement on Thursday.

Several COVID-19 patients across the country were, of late, found to have contracted the potentially fatal infection. On May 10, the Odisha government had announced that the first case of mucormycosis, commonly called ‘black fungus’, has been detected in the state.

Karnataka

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday said Mucormycosis or black fungus infection is now a notifiable disease and no hospital or medical centre having the capacity to provide treatment should deny admission to patients. He said an official government order towards this will be notified soon.

Sudhakar, who is also in-charge of the Medical Education Department portfolio in a series of tweets said the treatment of post-covid Mucormycosis or black fungus found in some cases requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving ENT specialist, anaesthetist, ophthalmologist and maxillofacial surgeon.

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