In a troubling development, more than 200 people have fallen sick with common symptoms in Eluru in Andhra’s West Godavari district. According to official sources, as many as 270 people have been admitted to the Eluru Government Area Hospital from Saturday onwards with symptoms such as nausea and fainting. Though initial reports point to water contamination, the exact cause has not yet been identified.
Out of those admitted, over 100 people were discharged from the hospital on Saturday after treatment. State Minister for Health AK Srinivas visited the hospital to take stock of the situation and supervise the arrangements. Officials said that all the patients are being provided with adequate medical care and at least six people have been sent for further treatment to Vijayawada.
Speaking to TNM, West Godavari District Coordinator for the Hospital Services (DCHS) and Eluru Government Hospital Superintendent Dr AVR Mohan said, “As all the patients were complaining of similar symptoms we thought it might be a viral infection, however experts have that ruled out.”
Dr Mohan further said, “All the patients are doing well and a team of experts is investigating how this happened. A set of samples have been sent to Guntur and Vijayawada. Though the investigation has not yet concluded, it appears that there could have been contamination of water from some sort of chemical.”
Special medical teams have been roped into carry out house-to-house monitoring. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also called up the Health Minister and reportedly held discussions about the required steps to be taken.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders Chandrababu Naidu and Nara Lokesh lashed out at the government alleging negligence in maintenance of water bodies.
Naidu tweeted: “Shocked & enraged at AP Govt’s apathy towards people. About 150 people, mostly children have taken ill after drinking contaminated water in Eluru because the irresponsible Govt hasn’t cared to clean local drinking water bodies since 18 months.”
Shocked & enraged at AP Govt's apathy towards people. About 150 people, mostly children have taken ill after drinking contaminated water in Eluru because the irresponsible Govt hasn't cared to clean local drinking water bodies since 18 months.(1/2)— N Chandrababu Naidu #StayHomeSaveLives (@ncbn) December 6, 2020
He further lamented, “Ironically, this is the Health Minister’s constituency. The Eluru incident has brought forth an irresponsible YSRCP Govt’s collective lack of conscience and inability to govern yet again.”
Nara Lokesh demanded that the government should take responsibility for the incident while insisting it pays special attention towards the health of the children who were affected.