The Central government on Thursday asked all states to declare mucormycosis or "black fungus" an epidemic. Union Health Ministry asked states to list mucormycosis under the "Epidemic Diseases Act" the rare but potentially fatal infection.
With this, all confirmed or suspected cases of black fungus, seen in recovering Covid-19 patients, have to be reported to the Union health ministry.
"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 said in a letter to states.
"This black fungus is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients," he said, adding that its treatment needed a multi-disciplinary approach including eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeons, neurosurgeons, dental facial surgeons and a special anti-fungal medicine, Amphotericin.
Meanwhile, all government and private health facilities and medical colleges have been asked to follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of mucormycosis.
Mucormycosis can lead to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, and coughing blood. It is also linked to diabetes.
Maharashtra has reported around 1,500 cases and 90 deaths from the black fungus while Rajasthan and Telangana have already declared it an epidemic.
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