While India is still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, a "mystery" illness which has claimed one life and has seen over 450 hospitalised in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh has baffled not only doctors from the region but also doctors and scientists across the country. After ruling out contamination in the water as the cause of disease spread, preliminary investigation reports have revealed that lead and nicket could be responsible for the disease, reported the News Minute
Scientists from AIIMS found traces of lead and nickel in some of the blood samples but these results are inconclusive and need to be further researched. AIIMS has asked for more blood samples.
The first case of this mysterious disease was reported on Saturday night in One-Town area of Eluru city. Patients from Eluru as well as neighbouring Denduluru are exhibiting symptoms of epilepsy, forgetfulness, anxiety, vomiting, headache and back pain. Doctors told reporters from the Press Trust of India that they have witnessed only one epileptic episode in each patient. So far, 263 people have already been discharged from hospital while 171 are still hospitalised. Critical patients have been shifted to hospitals in Vijaywada and Guntur, reveals official data.
Officials told PTI that all the incoming patients are testing negative for coronavirus relieving the health authorities from treating both the diseases in patients at the same time. West Godavari, where Eluru is based has so far recorded over 92,961 cases of COVID-19.
Experts from the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri, and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, have already visited Eluru and collected water, milk, and blood samples for analysis. The district officials have also requested for a World Health Organization team to visit the district. Teams from The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian Council of Medical Research will also be reaching Eluru to diagnose the reason for this poisoning.
While preliminary investigations have shown organochlorides as a possible cause for the disease, further investigations still need to be carried out to determine how the disease originated and spread. BOOM contacted Dr. Dolla Joshi Roy who is handling this disease outbreak. Dr. Roy was not immediately available to comment. The story will be updated once we receive his response.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the Government hospital on Monday to visit the affected patients and even held a high-review meeting to ensure that the situation is kept under control.
(Note:This story has been updated with TNM's report stating that traces of lead and nickel were found in the samples of the patients)
Updated On: 2020-12-09T17:39:38+05:30