A ward at a hospital in Vijayawada where patients from Eluru were admitted for treatment after they suffered from mystery illness.(PTI)
A ward at a hospital in Vijayawada where patients from Eluru were admitted for treatment after they suffered from mystery illness.(PTI)

Eluru mystery disease: Experts say ‘high residues of pesticides in water main reason’

Eluru town has returned to normalcy with no fresh cases of the “strange disease” being reported in the last three days.
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad | By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
UPDATED ON DEC 16, 2020 09:20 PM IST

The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday declared that pesticide residues in drinking water was the main reason for the recent outbreak of mysterious disease in Eluru town of West Godavari district.

A video conference was held by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy with representatives of various research institutes that conducted independent studies on the probable causes of the mysterious disease in Eluru last week.

Representatives of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) of Delhi and Mangalagiri, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) presented their findings during the video conference.

Eluru town has returned to normalcy with no fresh cases of the “strange disease” being reported in the last three days, as the civic authorities told the chief minister that all steps had been taken to ensure supply of safe drinking water to the people in the town.

Experts from AIIMS-Delhi, however, reported the presence of traces of heavy metals like lead and nickel in the blood samples of the affected persons as well as milk, while NEERI scientists reported the presence of mercury in the surface water beyond permissible limits.

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However, these two institutes along with others, disclosed that the drinking water samples had high quantities of organo-chlorine pesticides, which could have entered the bodies of the people through the food cycle.

“We need to examine drinking water, vegetables and food crops for a while to find out how exactly these pesticides entered the human body,” an official release from the chief minister’s office, quoting the study of the AIIMS-Delhi, stated.

Dr Ashish from the World Health Organisation, who took part in the video conference, suggested that an in-depth study should be made to find out the long-term impact of these pesticide residues on human body.

The chief minister entrusted AIIMS-Delhi and the IICT with the responsibly of making a detailed study in this regard and suggest steps to prevent recurrence of such mysterious diseases in future.

CM Jagan directed the officials to set up land in every district and conduct regular tests on samples of food, drinking water and soil so that corrective measures could be taken.

The chief minister also instructed the chief secretary to prepare an action plan for this and said incidents like Eluru should not be repeated in the future. He said focus should be laid on organic methods and organic farming through Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs).

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