Mystery illness puts 450 in hospital in Indian state of Andhra Pradesh


One person has died and more than 450 have been admitted to hospital with a mystery illness in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Over the weekend hundreds of people in Eluru, a town in the southern state, collapsed and experienced seizures and nausea, and some reportedly foamed at the mouth.

A 45-year-old man admitted to hospital with the symptoms had a heart attack and died.

Dolla Joshi Roy, a district surveillance officer, said 455 people had been taken to hospital and 200 had since been discharged. On Monday the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, visited patients in hospital.

The mystery outbreak has increased the burden on the healthcare system in Andhra Pradesh, one of the states worst affected by coronavirus with 800,000 active cases.

Specialists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have travelled to the state to investigate. Roy said tests were being done to try to determine the cause of the illness, including looking into possible food or water contamination or airborne poisoning. Some of those who collapsed complained of burning eyes.

Roy said: “Specialist doctors are still working on finding out the cause of this disease and we are waiting for results from the labs. It could be food or waterborne or airborne or some other condition. But we do know this was very localised, the people affected all lived in the same city.”

He added: “We tested everyone for Covid-19 and that came back negative, so we know it is not that.”

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