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Mysterious illness in India leaves over 500 people sick, 1 dead

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Dec 09, 2020 1:41 am

A mysterious illness in India has left more than 500 people sick and at least one dead.

On the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5, in Eluru, a city in Andhra Pradesh, India, "people started convulsing without any warning," The Associated Presss reported. Other symptoms experienced by patients admitted to hospitals included nausea, anxiety, and loss of consciousness, said Geeta Prasadini, the state's director of public health.

As doctors and experts try to understand the illness, there was no common link found among the patients. "They aren’t related to each other. They don’t all live in the same area. They’re from different age groups, including about 70 children, but very few are elderly," reported AP. Also, the patients tested negative for  COVID-19, dengue, chikungunya, and herpes. 

Different theories have been made including contaminated water, but it was later ruled out. “Nobody knows,” Prasadini said.

However, it was discovered by a team of doctors from All-India Institute of Medical Sciences that there are traces of lead and nickel in patients' blood samples, the Times of India reported.

"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.

Currently, the hypothesis that is being studied is that those infected ate vegetables tainted with pesticides made of organic compounds containing phosphorus. But this "assumption" is still being tested to confirm if fish ponds or vegetables are indeed contaminated, said Prasadini.

Of the 500 people sick, 148 are still being treated, said government spokesperson Dasari Nagarjuna.