The Congress-led government in Rajasthan has declared Mucormycosis (black fungus), an epidemic under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act 2020 after a rise in the cases in the state. The black fungus affects people recovering from COVID-19 and creates post COVID-19 complications leading to serious fungal infections and even death.
A notification has been issued by the state health department notifying Mucormycosis as an epidemic. Declaring the Black Fungus infections as an epidemic will help to tackle the crisis in a better integrated and coordinated manner.
Early this week, the government ordered the purchase of 2,500 vials of a drug used in the treatment of black fungus. Nearly 100 black fungus patients have been admitted and a separate ward has been made at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur for their treatment.
Mucormycosis is an invasive fungal infection that spreads rapidly through blood vessels. It enters the body through the inhalation of fungal spores and affects sinuses, nose, eyes, jaw, and brain. The death rate due to this infection is 90 percent.
It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or other types of skin trauma. Experts say people with diabetes are more prone to get this infection especially among the patients who are recovering or have recovered from COVID-19.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently issued guidelines for the treatment of Black Fungus infections asking the doctors to be cautious about prescribing steroid-based drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Symptoms such as sinus pain or nasal blockage on one side of the face, one-sided headache, swelling or numbness, toothache and loosening of teeth ought to be observed. The black fungus can lead to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.
Other states too have reported cases of the Black Fungus with Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar reporting cases in large numbers and even some states reporting up to 500 cases.
The Delhi government has set up a four-member technical expert committee (TEC) to prevent the indiscriminate use of Amphotericin-B injection, establish a transparent and efficient system of distribution of this drug to the needy and hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
According to ANI, Delhi has reported 130 cases of black fungus.