With the ongoing uncertainties and confusion on the mysterious illness in Eluru, in a recent update, near about 20 people in the district of Nellore also faced similar health issues reporting one confirmed death and others getting hospitalized. The symptoms of the illness included diarrhea, vomiting, severe headache, and anxiety which is very similar to the symptoms reported with the ‘mysterious’ illness in the town of Eluru. The samples of urine, stool, food, and water were collected and sent to the lab for further investigation on the illness.
As per the ground reports, the affected people are migrant agricultural laborers from the state of West Bengal. The consecutive health crisis with similar symptoms in two different regions has created a sense of panic and fear among the people in the state.
At the same time, reports from the Eluru town still suggest that the state health department or other concerned bodies have not yet reached a conclusion for the major cause of illness. In the wake of panic on the issues with contaminated water and food items, it has been understood that the people from Eluru are moving to other districts in the town for a safe shelter. The sales of vegetables in the town has also seen a serious drop on the speculation that vegetables can be a potential reason for the mysterious illness.
From the initial spread of the disease, the Andhra Pradesh state health department has been facing criticisms for their overall approach in handling the crisis and lack of efficiency to pass the right information to the public to avoid panic and tensions. The initial reaction of the state health minister avoiding the aspects of contaminated water without any validation was also under question. Meantime, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is reportedly preparing a detailed report upon the inputs received from the deputed central team from Eluru. In addition to that, after the National Institute of Nutrition finding the traces of mercury in rice and excess quantity of pesticides in vegetables, All India Institute of Medical Sciences is collaborating with other national institutions to study and understand the presence of organochlorine and organophosphorus in the blood samples collected from the town.