Eluru mystery illness: 6 days later, probe into cause remains inconclusive

The three institutions--AIIMS, IICT and NIN--presented their findings on Friday.
CM Jagan interacting with a patient
CM Jagan interacting with a patient

The intense search to establish the cause of illness in Andhra Pradesh’s Eluru continues despite test results from three different institutions coming out on Friday. The three institutions--All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)--presented their findings, but none of them could conclusively establish the cause of the illness. 

While AIIMS and IICT have ruled out the presence of heavy metals in water, NIN maintained that water is still a suspect for the yet-to-be-identified illness. 

A source privy to the review meeting held on Friday disclosed that IICT did not find anything wrong with the water, and that they had suggested that vegetables and other consumable items could have led to the illness. IICT results reportedly revealed that blood and serum samples showed presence of organochlorine. 

In contradiction, NIN's analysis suggested a presence of heavy metals in water. According to them, besides water, mercury was high in rice, and tomato was high on herbicide. The NIN is now examining the possibility of pesticide contamination in water. Meanwhile, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, which is doing a study on the pathogens, is yet to furnish its results. The National Institute of Virology, Pune  and National Institute for Disease Control in Eluru, are also working parallely. 

So far, 607 residents in the Eluru region have fallen ill to the mysterious illness, and one person has lost his life.  On Friday, 35 residents were hospitalized. The patients are availing treatment in Eluru and Vijayawada Government Hospitals. The victims of the illness exhibit symptoms of epileptic seizure, forgetfulness, headache, backache, anxiety and nausea. 62 medical teams and 25 ambulances have been deployed in Eluru, authorities had said earlier. 

Leader of Opposition, Nara Chandrababu Naidu had demanded the government to set up a helpline and Quick Response Teams to promptly assist the residents.


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