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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 21 May, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

Center tells State to declare Mycormycosis an epidemic

Center tells State to declare Mycormycosis an epidemic

  • Rajasthan, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have declared it an epidemic. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said black fungus had claimed 90 lives in the State so far. Eight people had died of the infection in Haryana, which has reported 316 cases. Rajasthan has 100 patients, while Tamil Nadu has reported nine cases.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

  • The colonial government introduced the Act to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that had spread in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency in the 1890s.
  • Using powers conferred by the Act, colonies authorities would search suspected plague cases in homes and among passengers, with forcible segregations, evacuations, and demolitions of infected places.
  • In 1897, the year the law was enforced, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was punished with 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment after his newspapers Kesari and Mahratta admonished imperial authorities for their handling of the plague epidemic.

Provisions of the Act

The Act, which consists of four sections, aims to provide “for the better prevention of the spread of Dangerous Epidemic Diseases.”

Section 2 empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak. It reads: “Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease.—

  • When at any time the State Government is satisfied that the State or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, the State Government, if it thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient for the purpose, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.
  • In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the State Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for – the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.”

Section 3 provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

Section 4 gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

What is Mucormycosis?

  • It is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes, which is abundant in the environment.
  • It mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
  • The types of Mucormycosis are: Rhinocerebral (Sinus and Brain), Pulmonary (Lung), Gastrointestinal, Cutaneous (Skin), and disseminated Mucormycosis.
  • The transmission occurs through inhalation, inoculation, or ingestion of spores from the environment.
  • Mucormycosis needs to be treated with prescription antifungal medicine. In some cases, it can require surgery.
  • Mucormycosis appears as a side effect among COVID-19 patients who are put on oxygen support through liquid medical oxygen cylinders or oxygen concentrators.

Source: TH


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