Make Mucormycosis a notifiable disease under epidemic act, urges Centre

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Make Mucormycosis a notifiable disease under epidemic act, urges Centre

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday asked the states and the Union territories to announce Mucormycosis, commonly known as the ‘black fungus’ disease, as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. In a letter to the states and the Union territories, LavAgarwal, the joint secretary of the Union health and family welfare said all government-run and private healthcare facilities and must follow the guidelines issued by the Centre and the ICMR for screening, diagnosis, and management of Mucormycosis.

“It must be mandatory for all these facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to the health department through chief medical officer and subsequently to IDSP surveillance system,” Agarwal wrote. Hospitals across the country have been reporting cases of a rare coronavirus-linked fungal infection that affects the sinuses, the brain, and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immune-compromised individuals such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS. The top bureaucrat acknowledged the rising number of reported cases of Mucormycosis from various states as the “new challenge” while expressing concern overuse of steroid therapy in the treatment of coronavirus disease cases.

The black fungus is caused by the steroid administered in the treatment of Covid-19 infection.

Last week, Haryana declared Mucormycosis as a notified disease and the state health department called a meeting on ways to deal with the fungal infection. Several states, including Maharashtra, have also taken cognisance of the disease and have set up a task force to evaluate the rising cases of black fungus infection among coronavirus patients.

Doctors from both private and government hospitals have witnessed a manifold rise in cases of Mucormycosis after the second wave of the Covid-19 struck the country in February.