A PMC worker sanitizes a locality in Patna on Saturday
PATNA: The state government on Saturday notified mucormycosis, commonly known as Black Fungus, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, after the Centre issued an advisory to make it a notifiable disease seeing the steep rise in the number of such cases across the country.
State health minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday tweeted that the decision was taken on chief minister Nitish Kumar‘s direction. He further said all patients with mucormycosis will be given free medicines.
The notification was issued by the additional chief secretary (health), Pratyaya Amrit after, a recommendation by an expert committee, and would remain valid for a year from the date of issue. Now, all cases of black fungus will have to be reported to the government for monitoring.
As per the notification, both private and government facilities will have to inform about suspected as well as established cases of Black Fungus to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) of the health department via the civil surgeon of their respective districts.
The number of black fungus cases remained on the rise in government hospitals of Patna even on Saturday. IGIMS superintendent Dr Manish Mandal said 43 mucormycotic suspected patients had been admitted till Saturday and it included 19 covid negative and 24 positive patients. “Two patients underwent surgery as the line of its treatment,” said Dr Mandal.
“At AIIMS Patna, 36 patients with suspected mucormycosis came for consultation, of whom seven with a serious condition were admitted for further investigation and treatment,” said Dr Sanjeev Kumar. He informed that over 200 patients with black fungus symptoms have visited AIIMS-P this week. In Ruban hospital, one patient was admitted on Saturday.
“It is a quite rare disease. I used to have not more than four patients in a year, that too among most immuno-compromised health condition,” said Dr Rakesh Singh, head of ENT department of IGIMS.
Dr Anil Kumar, head of trauma and telemedicine department of AIIMS said according to medical literature, the rate of occurrence of mucormycosis worldwide is 0.5 to 1.7 per 10 lakh population. “Even a slight infection in eyes or nose in otherwise all fine health status with no history of Covid infection or diabetes have made people worried and they are calling even in odd hours to confirm it could not be a case of black fungus,” said Dr Kumar.
Dr Satyajeet Singh, MD of Ruban Hospital said he had never seen any case of mucormycosis in over four decades of practice. “It is the second wave that made it from rare to common and even a dreaded disease. In serious condition this disease needs multi-speciality treatment,” he added.
Dr Vivek Kumar of the ENT department of PMCH also admitted that he never had any patient of mucormycosis in his five years in Patna and added, “It is an opportunistic fungus as the treatment used for Covid-19 patients, including the use of steroid and administration of humidified oxygen allowed it to grow.”