The government has asked all states and union territories to notify "mucormycosis" or "black fungus" under the Epidemic Diseases Act. In a letter, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said it would be mandatory for all health facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases of the fungal infection.
"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," Agarwal said in his letter.
"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 as an antifungal medicine. You are requested to make mucormycosis a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, wherein all government and private health facilities, medical colleges will follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis, issued by Health Ministry and ICMR and make it mandatory for all these facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to Health Department through district level Chief Medical Officer and subsequently to IDSP surveillance system, he said.
In Maharashtra, as many as 90 people have died of mucormycosis. The cases of Black Fungus have been on rise since the outbreak of coronavirus last year. According to medical experts, steroids which suppress immune system make a patient vulnerable to catching the fungal infection.