Organochlorine Substances Suspected of Triggering Mysterious Disease in Andhra Pradesh | India News
Multiple teams of experts from the country’s leading scientific institutions are working to determine the exact cause of the disease in the city of Eluru in Andhra Pradesh.
Organochlorine pesticides are chlorinated hydrocarbons used in agriculture and mosquito control. The compounds include DDT which is widely used in anti-mosquito fogging.
“In general, yes, but we are waiting for the laboratory report (for confirmation),” a senior official in the Department of Health and Medical told PTI on Monday, when asked if organochlorine was the triggering agent for the disease.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao, after speaking with experts at AIIMS, New Delhi, was the first to suspect that poisonous organochlorine substances could be the most likely cause of the mysterious disease.
With water contamination ruled out as the cause of the spread of the disease, and also other tests that turned out normal, medical teams are now focusing on other chemical agents that could have caused the outbreak.
Teams of experts from the National Institute of Nutrition and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad arrived in Eluru on Monday and collected several samples for analysis.
Water and milk samples were also sent to the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad to analyze the heavy metal content, sources from the Health and Medical Department said.
With all the incoming patients turning negative for the coronavirus, authorities have breathed a sigh of relief.
At the request of the state government, a team of experts from the World Health Organization in New Delhi as well as another team drawn up by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will arrive in Eluru on Tuesday “on an urgent visit” for a study and possibly determine the cause of the mysterious disease.
A team from the Indian Council of Medical Research is also expected.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the Government General Hospital here and spoke with affected people, assuring them of help.
Addressing a high-level review meeting later, he instructed officials to be on full alert and prepared to handle any situation.
A team of doctors from the Mangalagiri Institute of Indian Medical Sciences visited the hospital and collected blood samples from the patients for a full examination.
So far, 263 people had been discharged from the hospital after treatment, while another 171 have been admitted as inpatients.
Another 17 patients were referred to hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur for better medicare, according to official data.
The disease, which first appeared in the One-Town area of Eluru city, has now spread to the adjacent rural areas of Eluru and Denduluru, although the number affected there was much lower.
Previously, the mysterious illness caused people to suddenly lose consciousness after suffering seizures and nausea.
Symptoms, according to GGH doctors, included an epileptic episode lasting 3-5 minutes, memory loss for a few minutes, anxiety, vomiting, headache, and back pain.
The disease claimed the life of Sridhar, 45, on Sunday.
According to a report presented by the West Godavari district collector, R Mutyalaraju, the precise cause of the disease could not yet be established, as blood tests and CT (brain) scans showed everything to be normal.
The cell count of 35 cerebrospinal fluid samples was also normal, but the culture report is yet to come.
Meanwhile, TDP and MLC Secretary General Nara Lokesh wrote a letter to Union Health Minister Harshvardhan, requesting the Center to immediately intervene and control the “health crisis” in Eluru.
He wanted the Center to declare a health emergency in the city, claiming that the state government has been slow to react.