India declares “black fungus” infections as epidemic

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By Aminul Islam Mirja

NEW DELHI, May 20, 2021 (BSS) – Even as a deadly second wave of
Covid-19 ravages India, health professionals have to fight with a rare
“Mucormycosis” or “Black Fungus” infections that showed a rapid rise
among the Covid-19 patients in different Indian states.

The rare but fatal fungal infections that detected in the country
roughly two months back also reported from various Indian states that
prompted the authorities to declare the disease as “epidemic” under
the “Epidemic Disease Act” of India.

The Indian health ministry today sent a letter to all state
governments asking to list the “Mucormycosis or Black Fungus”
infection under the “Epidemic Diseases Act” and notify it to the union
health ministry.

The ministry also asked all public and private hospitals and medical
colleges to follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis, management of
“Mucormycosis or Black Fungus” caused by a fungus named mucor, which
is found on wet surfaces.

However, Rajsthan and Telengana, were the first two states that have
declared the “black fungus” infection as “epidemic” on Wednesday.

According to media reports, Maharshtra is the worst-affected state
in India of black fungus infections with nearly 2000 cases reported so
far.

“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 the letter.

“This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and
mortality among COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Diabetics and those with compromised immune systems are urged by
doctors to watch for symptoms like sinus or nasal blockage on one side
of the face, headache, swelling or numbness, toothache and loosening
of teeth.

According to health professionals, general symptoms of the black
fungus infection include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal
or sinus congestion, and partial loss of vision.

About treatment of the disease, health specialists said that the
treatment of the fungul infection required a multi-disciplinary
approach that involved eye surgeon, ENT specialists, general surgeons,
neurosurgeons and dental maxilo facial surgeons.

They suggested use of Amphorericin B as an anti fungul medicial to
treat the patients.