Black Fungus: Hospitals asked to form multi-speciality teams, separate wards

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 10: Assam government has directed all hospitals of the state to set up a dedicated ward for mucormycosis or black fungus patients and multi-speciality teams to deal with the situation.

In a fresh standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on June 8, the state health department said that a dedicated ward for mucormycosis patients and a separate waste disposal mechanism has to be in place.

“A multi-speciality team that includes specialists from orofacial-maxillary, ENT, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and plastic surgery should be ready for immediate surgery as debridement of infected tissues is the only confirmatory treatment,” the SOP said.

It has asked the authorities that all high-risk patients who had steroid treatment should be subjected to baseline Neutrophil count and then every third day until discharge. In case the count is less than normal, they should be screened for any fungal infections, it added.

The SOP also said that the use of prophylactic antifungal particularly Voriconazole has to be restricted as well as the use of Broad Spectrum Antibiotic.

“Possible sources of mucormycetes in the hospital environment like damp walls and floors, air conditioner (AC) filters, old food materials, any organic materials, soiled and contaminated linens including bandage etc., soiled and contaminated masks, equipment and devices used for patient care, contaminated oxygen cylinder and its accessories, humidifiers, leakage in water pipes should be specifically checked frequently to avoid any occurrence of mucormycosis,” the SOP said.

Instructing the hospital authorities to mop and clean the ICUs, wards and hospital premises, the SOP has asked to clean the humidifier bottle with mild detergent and hot water using a small brush and weekly cleaning of a cylinder, valver and flowmeter.

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