Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 12:05 p.m. [IST]
Eluru, December 8th: In the face of a mysterious disease baffling health experts and the government alike, preliminary analysis of various test reports has almost proven the role of organochlorine in the infection, which has killed one and over 450 infected people since Saturday.
Andhra Pradesh: 400 people sick and 1 dead due to a mysterious illness in Eluru | Oneindia News
Several teams of experts from the country’s leading scientific institutions are on site to determine the exact cause of the disease in the city of Andhra Pradesh in Eluru. Organochlorine pesticides are chlorinated hydrocarbons that are used in agriculture and in mosquito control. The compounds include DDT, which is widely used in mosquito seizure.
A woman showing symptoms of epilepsy is rushed to a hospital in Eluru town, West Godavari district
“Mostly yes, but we are waiting for the lab report (for confirmation),” a top medical and health official told PTI on Monday when asked if organochlorine was the disease-causing agent.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao was the first to suspect after a conversation with experts from AIIMS in New Delhi that toxic organochlorine substances could be the most likely cause of the mysterious disease. With water pollution ruled out as the cause of the spread of the disease and other tests proving normal, the medical teams are now focusing on other chemical agents that could have caused the outbreak.
The Mysterious Illness Strikes Eluru in Andhra Pradesh: What You Should Know
Expert teams from the National Institute of Nutrition and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad reached Eluru on Monday and collected various samples for analysis. Water and milk samples were also sent to the Center for Cell and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad for analysis of heavy metal levels, sources from the Ministry of Medicine and Health said.
Since all arriving patients are negative for the coronavirus, the authorities have given a sigh of relief. At the request of the state government, a team of experts from the World Health Organization in New Delhi and another team formed by the Union’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will arrive in Eluru on Tuesday “on an urgent visit” to conduct a study and possibly determine the cause of the mysterious disease.
A team from the Indian Council of Medical Research is also expected. Prime Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the government hospital here, spoke to those affected and assured them of all help. He later spoke at a high-level review meeting and instructed officers to be on high alert and be prepared for any situation. A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences from Mangalagiri visited the hospital and collected blood samples from the patients for a thorough examination. So far, 263 people have been discharged from hospital after treatment, and another 171 have been admitted to hospital.
Another 17 patients were referred to hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur for better medical care, according to official information. The disease, which first emerged in the one-town area in Eluru, has now spread to the adjacent rural parts of Eluru and Denduluru, although the number of people affected was far lower there.
Previously, due to the mysterious illness, people suddenly passed out after suffering from seizures and nausea. The symptoms according to GGH doctors were 3-5 minutes of epilepsy, a few minutes of memory loss, anxiety, vomiting, headache, and back pain. The disease claimed the life of 45-year-old Sridhar on Sunday.
According to a report by collector R Mutyalaraju from West Godavari District, the exact cause of the disease has not yet been determined as blood tests and CT scans (brain scans) showed everything to be normal.
The cell count of 35 cerebral spinal fluid samples was also normal, but the culture report is pending.
Meanwhile, TDP General Secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh wrote a letter to Union Health Minister Harshvardhan urging the center to intervene immediately and monitor the “health crisis” in Eluru. He wanted the center to declare a health emergency in the city because the state government had been slow to respond.
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