BREAKING NEWS

Mystery Illness: Central team to visit Eluru today

A three-member expert team from the Central Government will today visit the town of Eluru as authorities still struggle to control a yet-to-be-identified “mystery” illness which has hospitalised over 400 patients with symptoms ranging from giddiness and convulsions to epilepsy. 
 
The three-member central team, headed by Dr Jamshed Nayar, associate professor in the department of emergency medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi and comprising National Institute of Virology expert Dr Avinash Devashtawar and NDCC deputy director Dr Sanketh Kulakarni, will visit the hospital today. 
 
Chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy flew down to the town, the capital of West Godavari district, to visit patients admitted in the last 48 hours, according to hospital authorities. Blood samples of some patients were also sent to the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, for examination as the total number of patients rose to 471.
 
“We have not come across such a strange phenomenon till now. Strangely, most of them are showing signs of recovery within hours of being administered medicines for symptomatic treatment. But more and more patients are getting admitted to the hospital for the same symptoms,” Dr T Geetha Prasadini, director of public health said. 
 
K Gangadhar (35), who complained of dizziness and headache, vomited within minutes of being brought to the hospital. “He had convulsions and collapsed,” his sister said. So far, only a 45-year old patient, Sridhar, died on Sunday evening . “He also got admitted with the same symptoms. He got cured, but suddenly collapsed later. We are awaiting the post-mortem report to know the actual cause,” Dr Geetha said.
 
Most patients who suffered from symptoms of mysterious disease were between 20 and 30, but around 65 children below 12 were also afflicted. Some of the patients were sent to Vijayawada and Guntur hospitals.
 
 
Dr Geetha said drinking water samples in 32 wards, from where the cases were reported, were tested and reports of blood samples of the patients were normal. But late into the night, hospital authorities struggled to manage the surge of patients.
 
T Sekhar, 14, suffered severe headache and convulsions. “He was alright till afternoon. All of a sudden, he was crying complaining of headache and dizziness,” his mother Lakshmi said. Meanwhile, the Centre has roped in CCMB and AIIMS to understand this illness. Blood Samples of patients have been sent to CCMB Hyderabad. 
 
It all began with 45 people from four different localities, showing symptoms not linked to any known diseases. From lack of consciousness to seizures, frothing and shivering, the patients complained of these symptoms. 
 
Amidst this situation, social media is rife with news that this illness has occurred due to the contamination of water pumped to houses in the town. A netizen on Twitter posted pictures of a news report stating that the driving water pumps supplying water to the residents of Eluru have not been cleaned over one and half years. 
 
Meanwhile, fingers are being pointed at how Jaganmohan Reddy’s government is not bothered about the sanitation and upkeep of water bodies, pumps and supply routes. With so many lives at stake, the government needs to stop hitting back at the Opposition first and look into this matter seriously and ensure that treatment is provided to all those who are being hospitalised. It should also ensure timely upkeep of all works a government is responsible for! 

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