Outbreak of unknown disease recorded in India

(ORDO NEWS) — Patients complained of seizures with foam from the mouth, vomiting, dizziness, burning eyes, and back pain. The cause of the disease is not yet known. At the same time, the authorities assure that it is not transmitted from person to person.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh, located on the southeastern coast of India, an outbreak of an unknown disease was recorded, The Times of India reported. Cases of the disease were detected in the city of Eluru with a population of more than 200 thousand people and its environs.

Since Saturday, about 340 people have been hospitalized in hospitals (according to other sources, their number exceeds 450), including 45 children under 12 years old: now 157 patients remain under medical supervision, 168 have been discharged. One 45-year-old man died on Sunday night (Western media reports that the cause of death was a heart attack).

Most of the sick are young people 20-30 years old. They complained of the following symptoms: convulsions, nausea, sudden fainting, seizures that lasted about three to five minutes and were accompanied by frothing at the mouth, dizziness, burning eyes, back pain, trembling, forgetfulness and anxiety. No cases of transmission of the disease from one person to another have been registered to date.

What was the reason, the authorities and representatives of the health sector have not yet figured out. At the same time, the hospitalized were tested for Covid-19: the test results were negative for all. They did not have other viral diseases, such as dengue fever, herpes and chikungunya (an arbovirus of the genus Alphavirus, transmitted through the bites of a certain kind of mosquito). Cerebrospinal fluid tests were also normal.

The opposition said that the disease was associated with dirty water, and demanded an emergency regime, but samples taken in the affected areas showed no signs of contamination (at least for now). As the Chief Minister of the State J.S. Jaganmohan Reddy emphasized, among the cases there are people who have nothing to do with the city’s water supply.

The forensic laboratory also sent blood tests to patients and the food they recently consumed. “Experts are working to find out the cause of this disease, and we are awaiting results from the laboratories. It could be food, water, air, or some other disease. But we know that this is local, since most of the victims lived in the same city, ”said Dolla Joshi Roy, a district doctor.

The Indian Ministry of Health has formed a special team to investigate cases in Andhra Pradesh, which includes three doctors. On Tuesday they will visit Elura and report on their findings.

Meanwhile, some local media wrote that toxic organochlorine compounds and mosquito bites could have caused the disease. There is no official confirmation of this information.

The state of Andhra Pradesh, like India as a whole, has been badly affected by the coronavirus epidemic: the number of active cases is estimated at 800 thousand, over seven thousand people have died. And the outbreak of an unknown disease further increases the burden on the health care system.

Upd. According to some reports, the number of cases exceeded 800 people. Experts from the World Health Organization are helping the authorities of the state of Andhra Pradesh, where an outbreak of this “unknown disease” was detected, to find out the reasons.

Experts suggest that people ate vegetables contaminated with pesticides, including phosphorus. However, the hypothesis is based only on the fact that such chemicals are used in the area, and not on specific evidence.

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