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India

Updated on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 08:44 PM IST

Can black fungus spread through farm chickens? Here's what govt has to say

ENT specialist Dr. Brajpal Singh Tyagi (R) checks on a patient who recovered from the Covid-19 coronavirus prior to a surgery to remove black fungus (Mucormycosis), at a hospital in Ghaziabad on June 1, 2021.  | (Photo by AFP)

ENT specialist Dr. Brajpal Singh Tyagi (R) checks on a patient who recovered from the Covid-19 coronavirus prior to a surgery to remove black fungus (Mucormycosis), at a hospital in Ghaziabad on June 1, 2021. | (Photo by AFP)

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Mucormycosis or black fungus is a complication caused by a fungal infection. People catch mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment. It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or another type of skin trauma, said the Union Health Ministry.

The disease is being detected among patients who are recovering or have recovered from COVID-19. Moreover, anyone who is diabetic and whose immune system is not functioning well needs to be on the guard against this, said the Union Health Ministry.

The Central Government has already directed all states and union territories to declare mucormycosis an epidemic, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID-19 patients. The Health Ministry has asked states and UTs to list it under the "Epidemic Diseases Act".

Meanwhile, a post claiming that black fungus can spread through farm chickens is being circulated on social media. "Black fungus is spreading due to farm chickens. Please don't eat farm chickens for some days. Stay safe," read the post.

Turns out, there's no truth to the post. "There is NO scientific evidence that the infection can spread from chickens to humans," tweeted the Press Information Bureau's (PIB) fact checking arm called PIB Fact Check.

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High time ICMR issues guidelines on black fungus: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to form a policy on the distribution of Liposomal Amphotericin B drug for treatment of black fungus and spell out the priority of patients so that some lives could be saved, if not all. The administration of drug has to be prioritized for those with better chances of survival as also the younger generation, having promise of future over the older ones who have lived their lives, the high court said.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said the Centre may carve out an exception in the policy for those serving the nation in high position and whose safety and security is necessary because of the pivotal roles that they play. It said the drug is in shortage in the entire country including Delhi for the last two weeks now.

The court said it is high time that the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), which is a statutory body constituted to lay down guidelines for medical treatment of patients suffering from various ailments, comes out with clear guidelines on the use of Liposomal Amphotericin-B, plain Amphotericin-B and Posaconazole, for the treatment of black fungus.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 08:44 PM IST
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