Undiagnosed disease – India (Upd 1)

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At least 290 residents, including women and children of Eluru in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district, had to be rushed to a hospital the night of 5 Dec 2020 after falling ill. The illness is of yet undiagnosed. Undiagnosed diseases are not uncommon in India.

The locals were rushed to the Eluru Government General Hospital in West Godavari district after they complained of headaches, vomiting, giddiness, and epilepsy-like symptoms.

A 45-year-old man who was admitted to the government hospital in Vijayawada with symptoms of nausea and epilepsy died on Sunday 6 December 2020.

46 children were hospitalized with symptoms. Around 140 patients were discharged after their condition was stable.

Initial reports indicate that this could be a case of consumption of contaminated water. However, this is yet to be confirmed by local authorities. While possible, the symptoms do not match those typical of municipal water contaminated with a pathogen. Air pollution could also be a factor, but there is no mention of any airborne issues from nearby manufacturing or burning of anything that could be hazardous. 

Photo: Artist rendering of a pathogen.

If more information becomes available, this alert will be updated.

Update 9 December:

Meanwhile 550 people fell ill, with only 84 remaining in the hospital but soon to be discharged.

A  report of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), indicated high lead and nickel concentrations in at least 10 blood samples collected from patients from different places in Eluru. The source of the lead and nickel contamination has yet to be determined, nor it is clear if this is causing the illness.

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