Mucormycosis Epidemic: List Of States That Have Declared Black Fungus As Notifiable Disease

Cases of mucormycosis escalating amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a steep rise in number of fatal mucormycosis cases across the country amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. More and more states are declare the disease as notifiable disease, following the Centre's advice.

Following the advice of the union health ministry, several states and UTs have declared mucormycosis or black fungus as an epidemic under the Epidemic Diseases Act (1897), thereby making it mandatory to report every Mucormycosis case to the state government. West Bengal, which has recorded two deaths due to the disease, is the latest to join the list of states that have declared black fungus as a 'notifiable disease'. Till Monday, 10 patients with black fungus infection were under treatment for the disease in West Bengal, according to the state health department.

A day before, Maharashtra which has so far reported 2,245 cases of black fungus had done the same. Addressing the media, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that the patients of black fungus will be given free treatment at state-run hospital under Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana.

States like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already declared it a 'notifiable' disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

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Black fungus outbreak in India

Cases of fatal mucormycosis have been escalating in the country amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among Covid-19 patients, the Union health ministry recently urged the states and Union territories to classify black fungus as a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act. This classification makes it mandatory to report every Mucormycosis case to the government authorities. Which enables the authorities to monitor the disease and provides early warning of possible outbreaks.

As of May 24, Delhi reported more than 500 cases of black fungus, as stated by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

There were 506 reported cases of black fungus and 19 deaths in Uttar Pradesh till May 23. The state has also reported a case of Yellow Fungus infection in a patient admitted at a hospital in Ghaziabad.

As on May 22, Uttarakhand has detected 64 cases of black fungus, of which four have died.

Causes of Mucormycosis

Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment. The mucor mould is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits. Mainly, it spreads through the nose and affects other parts of the body such as the eyes, lungs and even the brain.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis

Black fungus infection can lead to pain and redness around eyes or nose, blackening or discoloration over the nose, fever, headache, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, coughing of blood, confusion, amnesia, loss of alertness and disorientation.

Who are prone to Mucormycosis

People whose immunity has lowered due to Covid-19, excessive use of steroids, prolonged stay in ICU, diabetes, kidney disease, liver or cardiac disorders, age-related issues, those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and people with comorbidities post-transplant are more prone to the fungal infection..

Treatment of Mucormycosis

As of now, Amphotericin-B, an anti-fungal drug is the key drug used for the treatment of the black fungus disease. It slows the growth of fungi that cause infection. The injection is usually given once a day or every other day.

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