Centre asks states to take action to deal with black fungus

at 7:40 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Noting with “concern” the surge in Mucormycosis or Black Fungus in the country, the central government today advised states and UTs to activate all necessary mechanisms to deal with the situation.

“Union Health Secretary in his letter to Chief Secretaries and Administrators of all States and UTs has urged to undertake the following activities & practices to ensure that there are robust infection prevention and control practices in COVID hospitals and other healthcare facilities,” the Health Ministry said in statement.

In the recent days, some States and UTs have reported an increasing number of patients suffering from Mucormycosis, popularly known as Black Fungus.

Taking a note of the secondary and opportunistic fungal infections which are getting amplified due to the present surge in COVID cases and Mucormycosis becoming a cause of concern, it said.

The states and UTs have been advised 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,” the statement read.

In due course, establish surveillance of healthcare associated infections with focus on ventilator associated pneumonia, catheter-associated blood stream infection, catheter-associated urinary tract infection, surgical site infections, gastro-intestinal outbreaks.

Further guidance can be taken from AIIMS HAI network; details available at https://www.haisindia.com.

Train all hospital staff to develop their skills in IPC, irrespective of their individual routine duties, in implementing procedures and protocols described in the Hospital Infection Control Manual.

A State Nodal Officer needs to be identified to monitor the implementation of infection prevention and control to provide evaluation and feedback of the IPC programme in the state.

States and UTs have been assured that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will provide all necessary assistance to implement the National Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Facilities, the statement said.

Prepare and implement the Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Programme in the hospital and health facilities, as per the guidance given in National Guidelines for Infection and Control in Healthcare Facilities (available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/National%20Guidelines%20for%20IPC%20in%20HCF%20-%20final(1).pdf).

In the context of COVID-19, standard precautions are to be applied all across the hospital and health facility.

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

Improve the environment and facilitate ventilation with 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, the guideline read.

Safe water and food to prevent water or food borne diseases in hospital settings

Biomedical waste needs to be managed as per the CPCB guidelines available at https://cpcb.nic.in/uploads/Projects/Bio-Medical-Waste/BMW-GUIDELINES-COVID_1.pdf.

Infection Prevention and Control practices needs 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 blood stream, urinary infections etc.

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.

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 guidelines for which are available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/ClinicalGuidanceonDiabetesManagementatCOVID19PatientManagementFacility.pdf).