Telangana declares black fungus a notifiable disease after Centre's nudge
The Telangana government on Thursday declared Mucormycosis, commonly known as the balck fungus, a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. The move came soon after the Union health ministry sent a directive to the states and the Union territories earlier in the day on the fungal infection.
A notifiable disease is a disease that needs to be notified by medical practitioners to the government in a prescribed format within three days or in case of urgency, within 24 hours.
According to the notification, all government-run and private healthcare facilities will be required to follow the guidelines for screening, diagnosis and management of Mucormycosis as issued by the Centre and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The state health department also made the failure to report such cases of Mucormycosis a punishable offence.
Meanwhile, state minister and TRS president K T Rama Rao took to Twitter to share a format and said that anyone requiring medicines for black fungus can send an send an official email request to the director of medical education and the superintendent of the ENT hospital at the Gandhi General Hospital, which has been designated as the nodal centre for the treatment of the condition.
Once the disease has been made notifiable, failure to report it is treated as a criminal offence. Black fungus is a condition seen in some patients who have recovered from coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The disease can lead to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing of blood.
Making a disease notifiable helps governments monitor the geographical spread of the disease and devise containment strategies. In case of highly infectious disease, a prompt notification often allows for close surveillance of the disease and gives authorities time and data to plan, monitor and prevent further spread of the disease.
The black fungus is caused by the steroid administered in the treatment of Covid-19 infection.
In the past, the Centre had declared several diseases such as AIDS, cholera, dengue, tuberculosis etc., as notifiable diseases.
Although the total number of black fungus cases in the state could not be immediately verified by the Hindustan Times, according to local media the cases of the disease are being reported from Adilabad, Khammam and Rajanna Sircilla districts.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has recorded cases of Mucormycosis from Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Guntur, West Godavari and Kurnool districts.