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Residues of Pesticides, High Mercury Level Behind Eluru Mystery Disease, Suggests Initial Study

By: Medabayani Balakrishna

News18

Last Updated: December 12, 2020, 11:05 IST

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Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy meets patients of the mystery illness, at a hospital in Eluru town on December 7. (File photo/PTI)

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy meets patients of the mystery illness, at a hospital in Eluru town on December 7. (File photo/PTI)

The National institution of Nutrition has formed a nine-member committee and their preliminary investigations revealed that residues of pesticides are the cause of the outbreak and research needs to be done in long run.

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in a virtual meet ordered for in-depth examination and research in every aspect to find out the exact cause of the outbreak of strange illness that broke out in Eluru. During the virtual meet with officials, doctors and experts from AIIMS, NIN, IICT, CCMB, NCDC and NIV, CM Jagan Reddy ordered to test water samples, recheck and confirm if the illness is due to water contamination.

The chief minister said the presence of organochlorine and organophosphorus is detected in blood samples and it should be found how did it happen. He added that the state government has constituted a committee and directed to move forward coordinating with the various organizations, agencies, and experts conducting testing on the illness.

The Expert team from AIIMS, New Delhi said that 16 water samples were tested and high concentrations of lead and nickel were not found and tests were being re-conducted. Nickel is detected in the primary investigation of milk and it is further being studied. Nickel and Lead were detected in Blood samples and Lead is found in Urine samples. Pesticides can also lead to this current situation as they contain heavy metals. The samples were sent to CFSL to determine the presence of orgonochlorine and the results are awaited, they said.

The National institution of Nutrition has formed a nine-member committee and their preliminary investigations revealed that residues of pesticides are the cause of the outbreak and research needs to be done in long run.

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The study further stated that Mercury traces in rice are high and more testing is needed. It added residues of pesticides were also found on the tomato and organophosphorus is found in the blood. However, it is yet to be identified how it entered the human body.

The Chief Minister said the next review meeting will be held on Wednesday to further discuss the issue. He said special focus should be laid on preventing the stray usage of pesticides and usage of banned pesticides and immediate action should be taken if banned pesticides are sold. He said only pesticides and fertilizers approved by RBKs should be delivered to farmers and awareness should be created among farmers on their usage.

CM Jagan Reddy further directed the officials to conduct tests on the pesticides being used currently and said this testing should be done for next one month. He said to focus on Organic farming after confirming if the water is the cause for current situation or not and added that the products of organic farming should be promoted. He also said to collect rice samples for testing and the contamination could be due to pesticides.

The Authorities and experts from AIIMS Delhi, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and Andhra Pradesh Municipal Department have said there is no evidence of contamination of drinking water. The officials said only two people were fallen ill since the previous day and 8 people in Vijayawada and 5 people in Eluru are being treated while others have been discharged from the hospitals.

Officials informed that samples are being taken from animals and sent to Bhopal for testing and added that Fish samples were also collected for testing. Tests were conducted to check for air pollution and all reports were normal.

The team of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad said 21 drinking water samples were examined and drinking water is clean. No trace of lead or organochlorine or organophosphates, they said and added that blood samples have led and organochlorides. Presence of Organochlorine and organophosphorus is detected in Serum samples. They are of the opinion that the illness is caused by both organochlorines and organophosphorus.

The Expert Committee of NEER, Hyderabad said samples of underground water are collected and being tested. Results are awaited. The officials of Municipal department said more than 100 samples of drinking water tested, showed no traces of heavy metals, organochlorines or organophosphorus.

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first published:December 12, 2020, 10:55 IST
last updated:December 12, 2020, 11:05 IST