The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government seeking its response on a plea filed on measures to deal with post-Covid complication mucormycosis or “black fungus” disease, and the procurement of Amphotericin-B, the drug used for treatment. Referring to media reports and experiences shared by patients’ families and volunteers, the plea stated that Gujarat has “miscalculated and underreported” data on mucormycosis cases in the state, according to Live Law.
The plea, a copy of which has been seen by Scroll.in, has been clubbed with a suo motu petition on handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, which is already being heard by the High Court. The petition on mucormycosis will be heard on June 15.
Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that has been reported among hundreds of recovered Covid-19 patients. It is caused by a fungus named mucor, which is found on wet surfaces. The symptoms of the infection include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion, and partial loss of vision, among others.
It mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness and most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The petitioners, Maitree Muzumdar and Khush Vachhrajani, submitted that there was “no proper system” for reporting “black fungus” cases in Gujarat and sought public availability of information on number of infections, recoveries and deaths due to the disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Last month, the Centre had asked the states and Union Territories to declare mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. On the same day, the Gujarat government had declared the disease as an epidemic.
The petitioners have also demanded to not club deaths caused due to mucormycosis along with Covid-19 fatalities, claiming that no such data has so far been made public by the state government. Reports said that the state had recorded 2,281 confirmed cases of mucormycosis and 250 deaths due to the fungal infection, till May 24. Gujarat has reported the highest number of cases among all states.
The petitioners have also urged the state government to maintain a real-time public dashboard that reflects availability of Amphotericin-B injections and beds for treatment at hospitals. They have also demanded for at least one designated nodal hospital in each district dedicated to mucormycosis cases.
Meanwhile, the plea has also sought for free treatment of mucormycosis patients belonging to the Economically Weaker Section under the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme.