Lead and nickel content in drinking water and milk was primarily established as the root cause of the mysterious disease in Eluru city of Andhra Pradesh, which so far claimed one life and left over 500 people sick. Based on the preliminary findings of the expert teams from AIIMS and other state and central institutions, health officials presented a report to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday.
A CMO release said lead and nickel were found to be the causative agents for the mysterious disease, citing a report prepared by the AIIMS experts. The disease saw people suddenly falling unconscious after suffering from fits and nausea since Saturday night.
The symptoms, according to GGH doctors, included a bout of epilepsy for 3-5 minutes, memory loss for a few minutes, anxiety, vomiting, headache and back pain. "More tests are being conducted by Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and other institutes and the results are expected soon.
The Chief Minister directed the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the heavy metal content in the patients' bodies and constantly monitor the treatment process," the CMO release added. According to the health authorities here, of the 505 persons infected, over 370 had recovered and another 120 were being treated in the hospital.
Another 19 people were sent for better medicare to government hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur. Apart from experts deployed by the World Health Organisation, a three-member team drafted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare arrived in Eluru on Tuesday and went round the affected areas to collect samples.
Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AKK Srinivas said the affected people were recovering well and there was no need to panic. "Full details as to what triggered the mysterious disease will be known only after the central agencies submit their reports. Primarily, lead has been found to be the cause of the outbreak," he said.
A special sanitation drive was undertaken in Eluru city and also in the adjoining rural pockets and Denduluru from where the cases were reported. Srinivas, who represents Eluru, went round the localities on Tuesday and inspected the overhead drinking water reservoirs and supervised the sanitation drive.
With PTI inputs