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'Black Fungus' infection declared an epidemic in Rajasthan

Doctors say that use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19 patients might weaken the immune system of the already sick patients resulting in the black fungus. (Image used for representation). (PTI PHOTO.)Premium
Doctors say that use of steroids in the treatment of Covid-19 patients might weaken the immune system of the already sick patients resulting in the black fungus. (Image used for representation). (PTI PHOTO.)

  • Currently, the state has around 100 black fungus patients and a separate ward has been made at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur for their treatment
  • Delhi is also 'frequently reporting' cases of black fungus, also known as mucormycosis, as per reports

Amid rising cases of Mucormycosis (black fungus), which is primarily affecting people recovering from COVID-19, the Rajasthan government on Wednesday declared it as an epidemic, officials said.

On Monday, the state government had issued orders to purchase 2,500 vials of a drug used in the treatment of black fungus, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said.

Currently, the state has around 100 black fungus patients and a separate ward has been made at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur for their treatment.

Mucormycosis has been notified as an epidemic and a notifiable disease in the state under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act 2020, according to a notification issued by state's Principal Health Secretary Akhil Arora.

He said the step was taken to ensure integrated and coordinated treatment of black fungus and the coronavirus.

According to experts, people with diabetes are more prone to getting the black fungus infection.

Amid the surge in COVID-19 infections, Delhi is also "frequently reporting" cases of black fungus, also known as mucormycosis, sources told news agency ANI earlier today.

Consequently, the Delhi government has set up a four-member technical expert committee (TEC) to prevent the indiscriminate use of Amphotericin-B injection and to establish a transparent and efficient system of distribution of this drug to the needy and hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

The drug is used in the treatment of black fungus or mucormycosis and is currently in short supply.

Till now, cases of black fungus have been reported in various parts of the country including Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar.

As per the Union Health Ministry, people catch mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment. It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or other types of skin trauma.

According to the ministry, the disease is being detected among patients who are recovering or have recovered from COVID-19.

"Moreover, anyone who is diabetic and whose immune system is not functioning well needs to be on the guard against this. The disease is caused by a set of micro-organisms known as mucormycetes, which are present naturally in the environment, seen mostly in soil and in decaying organic matter like leaves, compost and piles," the Ministry said.

It stated that the treatment of COVID-19 patients involves the intake of drugs like dexamethasone, which suppresses our immune system response. Due to these factors, COVID-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing the battle against attacks mounted by organisms such as mucormycetes.

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