Following increasing instances of black fungus in patients recovering from COVID-19 in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry has appealed to all states and Union Territories to declare black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897. This implies that all confirmed or suspected cases of the infection must be reported to the health ministry.
Black fungus or Mucormycosis is a complication caused by a fungal infection caused by coming into contact with the fungal spores in the environment. It can also develop on the skin if it enters the skin through any skin trauma like cuts, scrapes or burns. It has affected patients recovering from COVID-19 as it is caused by steroids administered as part of corona treatment.
"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. This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients," Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said in a letter to states.
The Ministry further instructed all health facilities, government and private, to follow the guideline issued by it and ICMR on screening, diagnosing, and managing mucormycosis. Telangana and Rajasthan have already declared mucormycosis as an epidemic. Tamil Nadu has also notified the disease under its Public Health Act.