Epidemic in a pandemic: Centre asks states to declare ‘black fungus’ a notifiable disease

As cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as ‘black fungus’ rise in the country, the Union health ministry has asked states and UTs to declare it a notifiable disease. Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already done it.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: May 20th, 2021

Mucormycosis, a fungal infection detected in COVID-19 patients, is likely to turn fatal if left untreated.

The central government has asked states to declare mucormycosis, or commonly known as ‘black fungus’, an epidemic. In a letter, the health ministry has urged all states and union territories to make ‘black fungus’ or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897.

In other words, it will be mandatory for the health facilities to report all confirmed or suspected cases of the disease to the health ministry.

For the past several days, almost the entire country is reporting a rise in the cases of mucormycosis. The disease which is an invasive infection can lead to blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood. The disease is primarily affecting people recovering from COVID19, and is linked to diabetes. It may turn fatal.

Also Read: COVID19 and Black Fungus: Everything you need to know about the rising mucormycosis infections in India

In a letter, the health ministry has urged all states and union territories to make mucormycosis a notifiable disease.

“The treatment of this fungal infection requires multidisciplinary approach consisting of Eye surgeons, ENT specialists, General Surgeon, Neurosurgeon and Dental Maxillo facial surgeon etc and institution of Amphotericin B is an antifungal medicine,” the letter dated May 19 read.

Sates across the country “… 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 guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis, issued by MoHFW (GoI) and ICMR,” the letter by Joint Health secretary Lav Agarwal continued to read.

Meanwhile, Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu governments have already declared black fungus an epidemic and a notifiable disease.

“We are making Black Fungus a notifiable disease under the Public Health Act. So now, we’ll know what all cases are there. Luckily, we’ve officially only 9 reported cases & all are stable. Now, we’ll also get the data from private hospitals,” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishna told media today.

West Bengal today reported four cases of black fungus. As of yesterday, 90 deaths due to ‘black fungus’ infection were reported in Maharashtra.

Also Read: COVID19: Black fungus, child care facilities in focus as UP CM directs officials to prepare for ‘third wave’