Heavy metals, lead and nickel, have been found in the blood of victims of a mysterious disease that appeared on Saturday in Eluru, a town in southern India. More than 500 people have already been affected, authorities announced on Tuesday.
The government dispatched a medical team made up of experts from different institutes to investigate. A man died after suffering seizures, nausea and pain. In total, 550 people were hospitalized, including 80 on Tuesday. One hospital reserved 100 beds for the victims, but most were able to return to their homes.
Numerous samples taken
Blood samples taken from ten people revealed high levels of lead and nickel, the director of Eluru hospital said. The authorities of the State of Andhra Pradesh have ordered an investigation into the presence of these heavy metals in the bodies of patients. But the samples are too few to say with certainty that the metals are involved.
There are no major factories in the area. Analyzes of water and milk drinks were carried out. Experts also collected samples of rice and cooking oil, as well as urine samples. Some local officials have mentioned the possible role of chemical additives in pesticides.
“Most patients come in with small injuries to their heads or a black eye after suddenly passing out. But within an hour or two, most of them get better, said AS Ram, chief medical officer at the government hospital in Eluru. However we are unable to diagnose what causes these symptoms. “
A police officer who lost consciousness on Monday while on duty said he was “scared” to have remained semi-conscious for more than two hours. “My colleagues told me I shouted something before I collapsed,” he said. I injured my right shoulder when I fell on the road. “