Centre asks states to make 'black fungus' notifiable disease under Epidemic Act
Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to make Mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the epidemic disease act 1897. This comes after a number of states reported increasing cases of Mucormycosis.

The ministry, in a letter, said that in recent times a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection namely mucormycosis has emerged and is reported from many states amongst COVID-19 patients, especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control.

"This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID 19 patients," Joint Secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said in the letter.

The treatment of this fungal infection requires a multidisciplinary approach consisting of eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeon, neurosurgeon and dental maxillo facial surgeon, among others, and institution of Amphotericin-B injection as an antifungal medicine.

In the letter to States and Union Territories, the Ministry said: "The treatment of this fungal infection requires multidisciplinary approach consisting of Eye Surgeons, ENT specialists, General Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Dental Maxillofacial surgeon etc. and institution of Amphotericin B as an antifungal medicine. You are requested to make mucormycosis a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897."

Under this, all government and private health facilities, medical colleges will follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis, issued by the union health ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The ministry also asked to make it mandatory for all these facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to Health Department through the district level Chief Medical Officer and subsequently to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) surveillance system.

The rare fungal infection called 'mucormycosis' or 'black fungus' is on the rise in several parts of the country. As Rajasthan is seeing a surge in the number of cases of black fungus (Mucormycosis), the state government on Wednesday declared the disease to be considered as an epidemic.

On May 18, the Haryana government also formed regulations called, "The Haryana Epidemic Diseases (Mucormycosis) Regulations, 2021". Till now, cases of black fungus have been reported in various parts of the country including Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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