At least six persons, who suffered seizures due to a mystery illness in Eluru town in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, have reported a second attack and were readmitted to the Eluru Government Hospital on Tuesday.
“At least six persons were readmitted on Tuesday after they suffered seizures and vomiting. They were admitted to hospital with similar complaints on Sunday and Monday. They were discharged after treatment. On Tuesday, they were brought again after they suffered another seizure. As of now, the patients are under observation,” In-charge Resident Medical Officer Dr P R Srinivas told The Indian Express: ”
The “mystery” illness affected over 500 people since Saturday evening with most of them showing the same symptoms: seizures, followed by loss of consciousness. The recovery was also quick, with most of them discharged from hospital in a couple of hours,
Dr Srinivas said: “The number of cases has reduced drastically. From Tuesday evening till Wednesday morning, in a period of 12 hours, we have received just four cases, of which two suffered seizures while two complained of giddiness. About 40 people are undergoing treatment and they would be discharged by afternoon.”
Meanwhile, a preliminary report by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi has found traces of heavy metals like lead and nickel in the blood samples of some of the patients. A team comprising officials of the health department, Eluru Municipal Corporation, revenue department and scientists has been put together to track the source of contamination of drinking water if at all.
Health Minister A K Krishna Srinivas said that Eluru receives drinking water through two canals and officials will trace the route to find out if there is any contamination at any point. “As the canals pass through agriculture fields, we are looking at the possibility of contamination due to pesticides,” an official said.
The team of scientists from the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Hyderabad, headed by Dr J J Babu Geddam, head of the Clinical Epidemiology Division, which is in Eluru, have collected samples. “We have collected biological samples from the hospital as well as from the affected and unaffected areas. We have also collected water and food samples from several affected persons. The process is complete and we will submit a report on Thursday or Friday. A comprehensive report will be submitted next Monday,” Dr J J Babu said.
Officials said that all the scientists and public health experts are zeroing in on the possibility of water contamination by heavy metals.
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