Black Fungus Declared New Epidemic In India
There is another epidemic on the rise as India tries to recover from the impact of Covid-19. It is called ‘Black Fungus’. It is primarily affecting Covid-19 recovering patients who have a compromised immune system, more so due to underlying conditions of diabetes or excessive use of steroids.
It is also hitting those who have been under prolonged ICU conditions or on artificial oxygen methods as a part of the Covid-19 recovery.
The sure shot way of figuring out that a patient has been infected by mucormycosis is to perform a Diagnostic Nasal Endoscopy (DNE). Of the states, Maharashtra has seen the first instances of the disease. But now, a lot of others in states like Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh are also showing active cases.
Some states have already declared the disease as an epidemic under the guidance of the Centre, making it notifiable under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897. These include Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, and the UT of Chandigarh. Telangan and Rajasthan had already done so a few days back.
The Centre has also asked states and UTs to make it mandatory for government hospitals to report all suspected and confirmed cases.
The most effective medication has been said to be Amphotericin-B whose production is now being ramped up by various drug firms in the country. The control of the disease does need a multi-disciplinary approach as it starts to spread from the face to the brain and then the lungs.
Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund explains that mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of mold.
Great numbers are coming in from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Recommendations include careful monitoring on crusting on nose or eyes, nasal discharge, wearing masks when venturing out, clothes that cover extremities, not venturing around rotting garbage or food leftovers, managing sugar levels and reduction in use of steroids in consultation with doctor.