With Black Fungus emerging as a major threat in several parts of the country, the Assam Health and Family Welfare Department has issued a directive aimed at preventing the condition and containing its spread.
The state has so far reported one case of Black Fungus. The patient, who was at a hospital in Guwahati after testing positive for Covid, died of the fungal infection also known as Mucormycosis. The state government has declared Black Fungus a notifiable disease, making it mandatory for healthcare units to report its cases to government authorities.
After some suspected cases of Black Fungus were recently detected, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was issued that came into force immediately.
As per the SOP, all hospitals must set up a dedicated ward for Black Fungus that has a separate waste disposal system.
The order adds that a multi-speciality team including specialists in Oro-Facial Maxillary, ENT, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology and plastic surgery should be ready for surgical procedures on affected patients.
Black Fungus is a fungal infection caused due to inhalation of fungal spores. The condition is not a major threat to healthy individuals but can severely affect patients with comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and kidney disease. According to a Union Health Ministry advisory, risk factors include use of immunosuppressants such as steroids, high blood sugar levels and prolonged ICU stay.
With the second wave of Covid pushing up cases of hospitalisation and use of steroids, the condition has emerged as a major threat.
Damp surfaces in hospital rooms, contaminated oxygen cylinders, humidifiers and air-conditioning filters can be the sources of infection.