Andhra Pradesh: Virus Or Pesticide Behind The Mystery Illness In Eluru, Says AIIMS Report

The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences said that water contaminated by a virus or pesticide might have triggered the mysterious disease in Eluru town in Andhra Pradesh.

Vaishnavi Navalkar

December 10, 2020

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3 min


On December 8, The All India Institute of Medical Sciences said that water contaminated by a virus or pesticide might have triggered the mysterious disease in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. A leading private lab in Vijayawada found high levels of pesticides, including DDT, in the drinking water. A report by AIIMS Mangalagiri showed high levels of lead and nickel in the blood samples collected from patients.

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A team comprising experts from AIIMS Delhi, National Institue of Chemical Technology (IICT), Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, and National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, is zeroing in on the causative agent, a pesticide or virus, or a combination of both, that led to the hospitalisation of about 500 people in the last three days.

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The mysterious sickness began on December 6 when a number of people were hospitalised with symptoms that resembled those of Epilepsy. Eluru is served by two irrigation canals that are interlinked. While one canal originates in Rajahmundry, another starts from Vijayawada. Pesticides and Fertilisers used by farmers En route are dumped into these canals which serve as drinking water sources for thousands of villages and the Eluru City. The expert team of ICMR-National Insitute of Virology will collect samples from patients and send them to NIV Pune and other laboratories to find out why people are suffering sudden seizures.

Earlier, AIIMS (Manglagiri_ Medical Superintendent Rakesh Kakkar visited Eluru on December 6 and studied the cast of sheets of the patients and analysed possible reasons for the sudden illness. Patients exhibited seizures, convulsions, vomiting, foaming and tremors. Around 20 patients were interviews and they said there was a change in the colour and taste of water. Some also reported that there was a greenish muddy discolouration of the household water supply.

Vijayawada Lab report said Dichlorodiphenyldichlorethane was found at 14,21 and 15.23 per mg/I while the acceptable limit was just 0.0001. Similarly, Alachlor, a Herbicide was found at 10.88 and Methoxychlor, a pesticide was recorded at 17.64 against the acceptable level of 0.001. Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has ordered a probe into the matter.

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