Declare mucormycosis an epidemic, Centre tells States

It will lead to healthcare facilities screening for it and reporting all such cases to govt, says Health Ministry

The Union government has asked the States to declare mucormycosis, the fungal infection being reported in COVID-19 patients, an epidemic.

In a letter to the States, Health and Family Welfare Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said that declaring the black fungus infection seen in COVID-19 patients an epidemic would lead to healthcare facilities screening for it and reporting all such cases to the government.

“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,” he stated.

The treatment

The treatment of the fungal infection required a multi-disciplinary approach that involved eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeons, neurosurgeons and dental maxilo facial surgeons and the use of Amphotericin B as an anti-fungal medicine, he noted.

“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 MoHFW (Gol) 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 [Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme] surveillance system,” he wrote.

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