The Rajasthan government has declared mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus, as an epidemic. The health department has made the deadly fungal infection a notified and notifiable disease under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act, 2020.
Following the order, all hospitals will have to keep a record of patients suffering from this disease, said health secretary Akhil Arora. He said that the step has been taken to ensure integrated and coordinated treatment of mucormycosis in Rajasthan.
Over 100 mucormycosis cases in Rajasthan
The health department’s record suggests that there are around 100 black fungus cases reported across Rajasthan, but unofficial estimates suggest that the number could be around 400.
In Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh Hospital, a special ward has been created to treat black fungus cases. Around 40 mucormycosis patients are availing treatment in the hospital.
As per the Union health ministry’s report, people get infected with 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. This disease has been detected among patients who suffered from COVID-19 and are recovering or those who are still infected with the deadly virus.
Use of steroids
Experts believe that the treatment of COVID-19 patients involves the intake of drugs like dexamethasone, which suppresses the immune system response. Due to this, COVID- 19 patients face a renewed risk of failing in the battle against attacks mounted by an organism such as mucormycetes.
Cases of black fungus infection have been reported in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Bihar. But Rajasthan is the first state to declare it as an endemic.
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