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Rajasthan declares ‘black fungus’ an epidemic

Our Bureaus New Delhi | Updated on May 20, 2021

With different States expressing concerns over black fungus or Mucormycosis, Rajasthan has declared it an “epidemic”.

With about 100 cases of the fungal infection being reported, the State has notified it as an epidemic under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act 2020, according to a release by State's Principal Health Secretary Akhil Arora. He said the step was taken to ensure integrated and co-ordinated treatment of black fungus and the coronavirus. Doctors treating the infection will be required to inform the government.

On Monday, the State government had issued orders to purchase 2,500 vials of Liposomal amphotericin used to treat black fungus, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said. A separate ward has been made at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur for treating the infected patients .

Less than a week ago, the Union Health Ministry had cautioned that Mucormycosis was being reported in a few Covid-19 patients during or post recovery and urged people to control their diabetes and not self-medicate.

Over-use of steroids

The infection has put a spotlight on the possible excessive use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19.

A compromised immune system is unable to fight the infection caused by micro-organisms such as mucormycetes that cause the condition. The Centre is also reviewing the production and availability of amphotericin, following increased demand.

Cases on the rise

Black fungus is also being reported from Delhi, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh , Telengana and Maharashtra, among others. A majority of these cases have been reported at Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital and AIIMS. The national capital is seeing a steady surge in cases. Currently, about 100 people are being treated for the fatal infection. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured that the government would take all necessary steps and precautions while treating black fungus cases.

In Gujarat, where 1,163 cases of Mucormycosis have so far been reported, the State was asked by the High Court to follow instructions in facilitating supply of injections needed to treat the fungus. “You will have to place on record the road-map as to how you will proceed further if the number of cases increases, how you will give injections to private hospitals if needed,” said the High Court, which is hearing a PIL taken up suo motu on issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Maharashtra, more than 2,000 people have been affected by the fungal infection; 90 had succumbed to it, even as some lost their eyesight. Telangana too is regulating drugs to tackle the fungal infection. Keeping in view the acute shortage of Amphotericin B, Posaconazole and Isavuconazole, the State government said it would regulate the allocation of these medicines to the needy.

Published on May 19, 2021

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