1 Dead, 300 Sick with Unknown Disease in Andhra; Centre Sends Team
A 45-year old man died and at least 227 people, including children, elderly people fell ill from an unknown disease.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu spoke to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday, 7 December, after a 45-year-old man died and over 300 people, including children and elderly people, have fallen ill in Andhra Pradesh with an unknown disease, reported PTI.
The VP Secretariat announced that the Centre is rushing a three-member team of medical experts to Eluru in Andhra Pradesh to look into the matter. The team includes Dr Jamshed Nayar, Associate Professor (Emergency Medicine) from AIIMS, Dr Avinash Deoshtawar, Virologist, NIV PUNE and Dr Sanket Kulkarni, Dy Director, PH Expert from NCDC, Delhi
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday visited the Eluru government hospital and met the patients who contracted a mysterious illness, IANS reported.
According to District Collector report, a total of 340 people have fallen sick in Andhra Pradesh’ West Godavari out of which 157 people are undergoing treatment. Patients complain of epilepsy, vomiting, headache, backache, general weakness and tension, reported ANI.
Affected patients were being treated at Eluru Government Area Hospital from Saturday onwards.
CM Reddy on Monday met almost all the patients admitted in the hospital and their caregivers and assured them that the government would support them. Following his visit to the hospital, Reddy is expected to attend a meeting with officials to discuss the development.
Cause Behind Disease Not Yet Discerned
Although the cause of their sickness is yet to be ascertained, earlier, the officials suspected water contamination as the cause behind the illness, which was overruled by the State Health Minister AKK Srinivas on Sunday.
“We ruled out water contamination or air pollution as the cause after officials visited the areas where people fell sick. Water samples were sent for testing and no contamination was found. Blood samples of the patients have been sent to labs. No viral infection has been detected. All the patients are COVID-19 negative. It is some mystery illness and only lab analysis will reveal what it is,” The Indian Express quoted Srinivas as saying.
Several residents of four societies of Ashok Nagar and Arundhatipet in Eluru city of West Godavari district showed symptoms of nausea, fainting, and seizures.
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.”
Out of those admitted, over 100 people were discharged from the hospital on Saturday after treatment.
Special medical teams have been roped into carrying out house-to-house monitoring. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also called up the health minister and reportedly held discussions about the required steps to be taken.
The Union Home Ministry is also in touch with the Governor’s office over this. Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan directed the health authorities to ensure proper medicare for the affected persons.
Opposition Lashes Out
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders Chandrababu Naidu and Nara Lokesh lashed out at the government alleging negligence in the maintenance of water bodies.
Naidu tweeted: “Shocked and 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.”
Nara Lokesh demanded that the government should take responsibility for the incident while insisting it pays special attention towards the health of the children who were affected, reported TNM.
Blood samples of those infected with the mystery disease have been taken and health officials have also initiated a door-to-door survey to check for possible water contamination.
(With inputs from IANS, Indian Express, PTI, Firstpost, Deccan Herald and TNM)
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