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Black fungus: States told to ensure infection prevention practices in hospitals to contain Mucormycosis

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has asked states and UTs to prepare and implement the Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Programme in the hospital/health facilities.

May 22, 2021 / 03:53 PM IST
As a deadly second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage India, cases of mucormycosis, a rare life-threatening infection are being reported among COVID-19 patients. (Image: News18 Creative)

As a deadly second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage India, cases of mucormycosis, a rare life-threatening infection are being reported among COVID-19 patients. (Image: News18 Creative)

The Centre has advised all states and union territories to review their preparedness for prevention and control of fungal infections as well as hygiene and sanitation in hospitals amid surging cases of mucormycosis.

Commonly known as black fungus, some states and UTs have reported an increasing number of patients suffering from mucormycosis in recent days.

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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on May 21 wrote to Chief Secretaries and Administrators of all states and UTs, urging them to undertake activities/practices to ensure that there are robust infection prevention and control practices in COVID-19 hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Bhushan advised them to establish and activate the Hospital Infection Control Committee with the head of the institution or an administrator as the chairperson, designate an infection prevention and control nodal officer -- preferably a microbiologist or senior infection control nurse.

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Read: Provide free treatment for mucormycosis, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tells PM Narendra Modi

He also asked them to prepare and implement the Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Programme in the hospital/health facilities, as per the guidance given in National Guidelines for Infection and Control in Healthcare Facilities.

Transmission-based precautions need heightened focus on the droplet, airborne and contact precautions from the perspective of protecting healthcare workers and ensuring patient safety, he said in the letter.

Also read: India faces antifungal drug shortage as Black Fungus cases add to COVID-19 woes

Besides, the letter stressed improving the environment and facilitate ventilation with a focus on fresh air and natural ventilation wherever control systems with requisite air changes are not available, cleaning, disinfection and sanitation of the hospital environment and frequently touched surfaces, with recommended disinfectants like 1% sodium hypochlorite or 70% alcohol and safe water and food to prevent water or foodborne diseases in hospital settings.

The letter stated that biomedical waste needs to be managed as per the CPCB guidelines available and that Infection Prevention and Control practices need to be enhanced in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) using a bundle approach to prevent device-associated infections such as ventilator-associated pneumonia or catheter-associated bloodstream, urinary infections etc.

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Infection prevention and control practise in the clinical laboratories and those attached to hospitals are very crucial for the safety of laboratory/hospital staff and health security of the community, the letter stated.

Meticulous adherence to infection prevention and control while managing immunocompromised patients such as COVID-19 patients on steroid treatment, with co-morbidities (such as diabetes where good glycemic control needs to be established), the letter underlined.

(With inputs from PTI)

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first published: May 22, 2021 03:53 pm