Declare ‘black fungus’ an Epidemic: Centre to States

Bhubaneswar: In view of increasing cases of fungal infections among recovering COVID-19 patients, the Union Government has asked all States to declare mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ an epidemic.

The Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry asked the State Governments to list the fatal infection under the ‘Epidemic Diseases Act’ as deaths due to the black fungus are on the rise in the country.

“In recent times a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection namely mucormycosis has emerged and is reported from many states among COVID-19 patients especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control,” Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal has said in a letter to states.

“This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients,” he said adding that the treatment for black fungus is required a multi-disciplinary approach involving doctors such as eye specialists, ENT specialists, general surgeons, neurosurgeons and dental facial surgeons.

“All government and private health facilities and medical colleges have to follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis,” Agarwal said in a letter to States.

The disease, which can lead to blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood, is strongly linked to diabetes.

The black fungus cases have been reported in various parts of the country including Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar.

Mucormycosis of black fungus, which is primarily affecting people recovering from the COVID-19, has been declared an epidemic in Telangana and Rajasthan.

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