Medical teams, tests: How govt is tackling Eluru mystery illness
As more than 20 additional people with a range of symptoms from nausea to fits have been admitted to the government hospital in Eluru town in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district in the last 12 hours, authorities are yet to find a cause behind the mystery illness.
At least 345 people have complained of epilepsy, seizures, giddiness, vomiting and oozing of froth from the mouth in the last 48 hours, according to officials. Most of the 345 patients, who showed symptoms of the mysterious disease, were in the age group of 20-40 years, there were at least 45 children below 12 years of age, they added. One of them died on Sunday.
“Since Sunday night, another 28 patients were admitted to the hospital, including five patients on Monday morning. So far, 180 patients were discharged after being treated for symptoms,” the hospital authorities said. “Most of the patients were quite normal till Sunday morning, but suddenly collapsed due to symptoms,” K Raju, correspondent of a local television channel, said.
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A team of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is going to visit Eluru to find out the cause behind the unidentified illness. Blood samples of some patients have been sent to Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad for examination, hospital authorities said. CT scans of the patients’ brain were performed and cerebral spinal fluid tests also turned out to be normal. E-coli results were also awaited, according to reports.
It was initially suspected that water contamination could have been the cause of the outbreak but sample tests ruled that out. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s lawmaker GVL Narasimha Rao said, after talking to experts at the AIIMS, New Delhi, that poisonous organochlorine substances could be the most likely cause of the disease.
Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy called on the people undergoing treatment at the Eluru government hospital and assured of all help. He instructed health department authorities to take steps to ensure the best medical care to the patients. He later held a meeting with the officials the local Zilla Parishad office.
(With agency inputs)