India’s health authorities want black fungus to be declared an epidemic

(Photo: Times of India)

As if the surge in coronavirus cases and a deadly cyclone wasn’t enough, India is now experiencing a rise in black fungus cases with health authorities pushing for an epidemic to be declared in some states.

According to the Times of India, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat and the UT of Chandigarh has already declared the infection an epidemic.

India has been seeing thousands of cases of the once rare infection in recovered and recovering COVID-19 patients.

Doctors suspect there may be a link with the steroids used to treat Covid.

Black Fungus, , called mucormycosis, is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immuno-compromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/Aids.

The infection has a mortality rate of 50 per cent. Some patients are only saved by removing an eye or jaw bone.

It is not clear how many cases have been reported across India but on Thursday, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal wrote to India’s 29 states to ask them to declare it an epidemic.

By doing so, the ministry will be able more closely to monitor what is happening in each state, and allow for better integration of treatment.