22 individuals fall ailing in Eluru; AP Deputy CM suspects conspiracy

Amaravati (AP), January 22

At least 22 people fell ill in Eluru city and a nearby mandal headquarters in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday but Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AK Srinivas suspected there could be a “conspiracy” behind it.

This comes more than a month after several hundred people in Eluru fell ill with symptoms of nausea in the first week of December last year.

The deputy chief minister, who visited Poolla in West Godavari district and enquired about the situation from the victims’ families, said they could not rule out a conspiracy behind the outbreak of the mysterious illness.

“We are thinking if there is a conspiracy. We have this suspicion, going by what the people here said. So, we can’t rule that out. But we can’t confirm that as well,” Srinivas told a Telugu television news channel.

Official sources said the 22 persons suddenly fell unconscious as froth oozed from their mouths and they complained of giddiness.

“Six of these patients have been discharged after treatment while 15 were admitted to the District Hospital in Eluru. Another person was getting treated in the local hospital in Poolla mandal headquarters,” a senior official said.

“We have collected water and food samples from the houses of the victims and also nearby hotels and the wholesale vegetable market at Gundugolanu. We are collecting samples of meat, chicken, milk, rice and fertilisers used in paddy cultivation,” he added.

Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das, Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal, Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar rushed to Eluru to take stock of the situation.

Several hundred people in Eluru city fell ill with symptoms of fits and nausea in December last year.

Experts from various national research institutes established that organochlorine substances were the causative agents of the disease but drinking water was ruled out as a cause.

The disease subsided in less than a week and when things appeared to be returning to normal, some people in Poolla started falling ill again since Thursday.

Medicare is being provided to the affected people in Poolla, Gundugolanu as well, apart from the District Hospital in Eluru. — PTI

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