'Black fungus' is a notifiable disease
Mucormycosis or 'black fungus', which is being found in a rising number of Covid-19 patients across India, has been declared a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Act 1897 in many states, including Telangana and Uttarakhand. It is a rare but dangerous fungal infection caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes, which are present naturally in the environment.
What is a notifiable disease?
- A notifiable disease is an illness that is required by law to be informed to government authorities. This is applicable to private establishments.
- This helps the government to form a bank of data about the disease and monitor it, which helps in providing early warnings about outbreaks.
- As per the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations, 1969, the disease has to be flagged to the WHO to help with its global surveillance and advisory role.
- The responsibility to declare any disease as a 'notifiable' disease lays with the state governments.
- Registered medical professionals need to notify such diseases in a proper form within three days, or notify verbally via phone within 24 hours depending on the urgency of the situation.
- This means that all government hospitals, private hospitals, laboratories, and clinics will have to report cases of the disease to the government.
- This helps the government to track the disease and formulate a plan of action to tackle it.
- Over the years, the Centre has notified many diseases including cholera, diphtheria, encephalitis, leprosy, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough), plague, tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis, measles, yellow fever and malaria dengue.