The Union Health Ministry has urged states and union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID-19 patients.
The ministry, in a letter, said that in the 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," Joint Secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said in the letter.
The treatment of this fungal infection requires multidisciplinary approach consisting of eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeon, neurosurgeon and dental maxillo facial surgeon, among others, and institution of Amphotericin-B injection as an antifungal medicine.
"You 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 the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Gol) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (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 Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) surveillance system," the letter stated.