Bengaluru

Karnataka to declare black fungus as notifiable disease

COVID-19 patients, especially people with diabetes, who are given steroids during treatment, have to be watchful of mucormycosis or black fungus symptoms. Representational photo  

Karnataka is all set to declare mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, as a notifiable disease. Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, who held a meeting with experts on black fungus on Monday, said a notification to this effect will be issued shortly.

This decision has been taken following a recommendation by an expert panel headed by H.S. Satish, ENT HOD at Victoria Hospital. The panel comprises ophthalmologists K. Bhujang Shetty from Narayana Nethralaya, B.L. Sujatha Rathod from Minto Hospital, apart from a few other senior doctors.

Although there are reports that 97 people in the State have contracted the disease, as a post-COVID-19 complication, and four have succumbed to it, there is no accurate data from across the State.

Dr. Shetty said it was important that the State has a registry of people infected with black fungus. “This is essential to chalk out treatment protocols and strategies on prevention,” he said.

“We have recommended that this should be declared as a notifiable disease just like TB so that every case is reported to the State both from private and government doctors. As this involves, ENT, ophthalmologists, neurologists, and general medicine doctors. among other specialists, there is no single point of contact for patients and making it a notifiable disease will help,” he said.

Addressing presspersons, Dr. Sudhakar said till Sunday (May 16), 97 people have contracted mucormycosis in the State and four have died.

“The government has information on infected persons and treatment will be provided to them accordingly. As the fungus enters through the nasal cavity in immunocompromised patients (those with diabetes, cancer, HIV, and who have undergone organ transplants) and early symptoms can be seen in the nose, COVID-19 patients will undergo an ENT check up before discharge from hospitals from now on,” the Minister said.

Appealing to people not to panic as it does not spread like COVID-19, the Minister said free treatment for the infection was started at Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bengaluru from Monday.

“We are also notifying regional centres for black fungus treatment at the Mysuru Medical College and Research Institute, the Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences, the Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences in Kalaburagi, the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences at Hubballi, Kasturba Medical College, and Wenlock District Hospital in Mangaluru. These centres will become functional from Thursday,” he said.

The infection can mainly occur in some oxygen-dependent patients if hygiene and proper protocols are not followed while using the nasal mask and oxygen concentrators. It is important that doctors and paramedical staff should follow proper protocols, he said.

Calling upon people not to panic over reports of shortage of medicine for this disease, the Minister said: “We have placed orders for 20,000 doses of Amphotericin B, the anti-fungal injection used in the treatment of black fungus. The Centre has approved 1,050 vials out of which 450 vials have been supplied to our State. A single patient needs 40-60 vials of this medicine.”


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 1:01:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/state-to-declare-black-fungus-as-notifiable-disease/article34580651.ece

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