A mysterious disease that began spreading in Eluru in Andhra Pradesh claimed one life on Sunday while 292 others fell sick. More than 140 of the patients have returned home after treatment at hospital while the condition of others was stable, medical and health officials in West Godavari district said.
It has not been established yet as to what caused the disease that saw people suddenly falling unconscious after suffering from symptoms of fits and nausea. A 45-year-old man who was admitted to the government general hospital in Vijayawada on Sunday morning with symptoms of nausea and epilepsy died in the evening.
Majority of the people had recovered within a few minutes but at least seven were shifted to the government hospital on Sunday for better treatment. Special teams of doctors have been rushed to Eluru to treat the victims while a house-to-house survey has been undertaken to identify prospective patients.
State Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar also reached Eluru to take stock of the situation and monitor the treatment. Expressing concern over the spread of the mysterious disease, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan directed the health authorities to ensure proper medicare to the afflicted persons.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has scheduled a visit to Eluru on Monday to visit the patients in the GGH and later hold a review meeting with the West Godavari district officials. Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AKK Srinivas (Nani), who represents Eluru, said tests established that water contamination was not the cause of the unknown disease.
Nani visited the hospital again on Sunday and reviewed the situation and said there was no need to panic. “Most of the victims have recovered and others are stable. We have readied 50 beds in the GGH in Vijayawada to shift patients, if required. Our medical teams are attending to every patient," the Deputy Chief Minister said.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao, who spoke to state Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, said a five-member team of doctors from AIIMS at Mangalagiri here was visiting Eluru to treat the patients. Rao said he spoke to AIIMS, Delhi Director Randeep Guleria and other experts on the mysterious disease and also made them talk to the West Godavari district medical officials.
Poisonous organic substances could be the most likely cause of the disease, the MP said after talking to the experts. TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh too visited the hospital and spoke to the victims.
He blamed the Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s negligence for the disease outbreak, though initially it was suspected that water contamination caused it. Expressing anguish over 290 people falling ill, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu demanded a full-fledged inquiry into the disease outbreak and declaration of health emergency in Eluru city.
Meanwhile, health authorities could not yet establish the cause of the sudden disease, though blood tests and CT scans were performed. The probable cause could become evident only after the culture test results came in. E-coli results were also awaited, Joint Collector Himanshu Shukla said.