1 dead, hundreds take ill: What we know about Eluru mystery disease so far

A 45-year-old man died on Sunday and nearly 300 people have taken ill in Eluru town in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district with complaints of giddiness and epilepsy since Saturday night. Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is scheduled to visit the patients at Eluru Government Hospital on Monday around 10.30am. He will hold a meeting with the hospital officials and a conference later.

Patients who flocked to the Eluru government hospital complained of symptoms of seizures, vomiting, giddiness and severe headache, officials have said. The cause of the sickness is yet to be ascertained.

Here is what we know so far:

1. The 45-year-old man, identified as Sridhar from Vidyanagar area of Eluru town, succumbed to the disease on Sunday evening, his family members said. He was admitted to the local government hospital in the morning with symptoms of epilepsy and giddiness in the morning.

2. According to doctors at the government hospital, Sridhar died of other symptoms as he had recovered from his epilepsy symptoms by evening. The police have called for an autopsy report of the deceased.

3. An update from the health authorities on Sunday night showed that the number of affected persons crossed 285. Of them, 117 were discharged upon fully recovering and about 30 are ready for discharge, officials said on Saturday.

4. Deputy chief minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas said that five people have been shifted to the Vijayawada government hospital and many patients are also being treated in private hospitals.

5. The government claimed that water samples from 22 affected areas showed no signs of contamination and that no viral infections were detected after blood tests of all the affected people were conducted. All the patients were also tested for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and all reports were negative. The test results for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are expected on Monday.

6. The deputy chief minister has said special focus is being given to areas with such cases and medical camps are being set up there. A door-to-door survey is being conducted to monitor the health condition of the people, he also said.

7. The opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) blamed the government for the sickness of hundreds of people in Eluru. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu pointed out that the health hazard took place in health minister’s own constituency, where people were not getting protected drinking water for the last 18 months.

8. Naidu has also demanded a full-fledged inquiry into the disease outbreak and declaration of health emergency in Eluru.

9. Officials said scientists from the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad would be visiting Eluru on Monday to study the situation.

10. BJP lawmaker GVL Narasimha Rao, who spoke to the state’s chief secretary Nilam Sawhney, said a five-member team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Mangalagiri was sent Eluru to treat the patients. Rao said he spoke to the director of AIIMS in Delhi, Randeep Guleria, and other experts on the mysterious disease.

(With agency inputs)

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