Over 340 Sick With ‘Mysterious’ Andhra Illness: What Do We Know?

What is this new illness? Here’s what we know and what we don’t.

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What is this new illness? Here’s what we know and what we don’t.
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At least one person has died and over 340 people fell sick due to a ‘mysterious’ illness in Andhra Pradesh's Eluru district, which has gripped the area over the last three days. According to media reports, on Monday, 7 December, 12 people in the district are in critical condition, while over 150 have been hospitalised.

This comes at a time when the nation, along with the rest of the world, is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is this new illness? Here's what we know and what we don't.

What are the symptoms of this mysterious illness?

Patients have been identified with epilepsy, forgetfulness, anxiety, vomiting, headache and back ache, authorities said. Patients have also been admitted with complaints of nausea and giddiness.

Earlier, a report quoted Health Minister A Kali Krishna Srinivas as saying, “The people who fell sick, especially the children, suddenly started vomiting after complaining of burning sensation in their eyes. Some of them fainted or suffered bouts of seizures. Some were in critical condition when they were first brought on Saturday but now all of them are safe.”

What is the reason behind this mysterious illness?

The authorities are yet to find a concrete reason for the illness.

Are the symptoms communicable?

Not as of now, says the West Godavari district collector, reported ANI

"The sickness didn't spread from a person to another. There is no age restriction for the sickness," district collector said.

So, is water contamination ruled out?

Yes. Drinking water samples were collected from the area but the results came out as "normal", said the Chief Minister's Office.

Although the cause of their sickness is yet to be ascertained, earlier, the officials suspected water contamination as the cause behind the illness, but State Health Minister AKK Srinivas on Sunday said tests showed that that was not the case.

"People from areas where Eluru municipal's water distribution is not available also fell sick. Even those who drink only mineral water daily also fell sick," the collector added.

How is the Andhra government handling the health crisis?

A team of 56 doctors, including specialists, microbiologists and 136 nurses have been deputed in the district, reported The News Minute. Twenty ambulances and 62 medical camps have been added to the district. A total of 445 beds have been arranged in the four hospitals, including in Government Hospital, Eluru.

What is the Opposition, Andhra CM saying about this?

Opposition leaders Chandrababu Naidu and Nara Lokesh lashed out at the government alleging negligence in the maintenance of water bodies.

Naidu tweeted: “Shocked & enraged at AP Govt’s apathy towards people. About 150 people, mostly children have taken ill after drinking contaminated water in Eluru because the irresponsible government hasn’t cared to clean local drinking water bodies since 18 months.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the patients availing treatment and has reportedly assured help.

(With inputs from ANI, The News Minute)

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