Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy meets patients who fell ill in Eluru town on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Owing to a mystery disease, at least 340 people- including several children, some as young as 4 years old- have fallen sick in Eluru, a town in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district. 157 of these people are undergoing treatment and one person has died. Hundreds of people who were sick complained of epilepsy, seizures, giddiness, vomiting and oozing of froth from the mouth in the last 48 hours, according to officials. The cause of the sickness is yet to be ascertained.
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 and cerebral spinal fluid tests were performed, both turning out to be normal. E-coli results were also awaited, Joint Collector Himanshu Shukla said.
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, after talking to experts at the AIIMS, New Delhi, said that poisonous organochlorine substances could be the most likely cause of the disease.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday visited Eluru Government Hospital in West Godavari district where over 150 patients have been admitted. The Chief Minister met the patients, assuring them of all help and ordered for providing good food and quality medicines at the hospital. According to a press release by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office, the Chief Minister held a review meeting with district authorities at ZilaParishat conference hall. “The officials said that they have conducted tests for drinking water from various parts of the town, all reports are normal. Tests for the presence of heavy metals in water, they are also at the normal level. Tests for viruses are also conducted, they are also in normal condition,” the release said.