Hundreds hospitalized after unknown illness hits south India town

Srinagar, India, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- An unidentifiable infection has hit a south India town with nearly 600 people hospitalized in the past few days with sudden seizures and nausea due to suspected intoxication, an official said on Wednesday.

The first cases of the mysterious disease were reported by the authorities over the weekend when several people, including children, in Eluru town of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh experienced dizziness, headache, and vomiting after suffering abrupt unconsciousness.

The outbreak has sent the government and medical authorities into a tizzy, with a series of serological examinations in the state, which is among the worst-affected by Covid-19 in the country.

Himanshu Shukla, the joint collector of West Godavari district, told EFE that a total of 582 people were hospitalized due to the illness, out of which 491 had returned home.

“The number of cases has reduced drastically now,” Shukla said.

“It was a point source epidemic. It was not everywhere. It has come from some particular thing,” the district officials said.

He noted that it could be a case of “an acute toxication” and “a typical case of neuro toxin.”

He said there could be two possibilities based on the analysis of some blood samples collected from patients.

“Either it is lead or organofluorine or it can be both. Lead which was seen in blood and pesticide found in water. It was organofluorine. It can cause this kind of thing,” Shukla said.

He said the authorities took samples of vegetables, water, milk, and rice to know if the infection originated from a food source, and the results would come by Thursday evening.

“We are working backwards. Samples have been sent to labs. Once the result comes, then only we will be able to (determine the origin and the nature of the disease).”

According to official data, 74 of the sick so far were children below 13, and 322 were in the age bracket of 13 to 35. Some 186 were more than 35 years.

The health authorities have already ruled out any link between the disease and the coronavirus infections that have gripped the country, causing a total of 9.75 million Covid-19 infections, and 141,400 deaths.

India is just behind the United States in the global tally of the coronavirus outbreak. EFE-EPA


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