The number of people suffering from eye infection after being administered a herbal extract by a traditional medicine practitioner at Peddatummala village in Kurnool district for curing cataract has risen to 400, according to confirmed reports.
Reports said 400 people in Gudur, Nellore, Podalakuru, Manubolu and Muthukuru mandals, who underwent the quack’s treatment, developed swelling and eyesore as their eyes got infected.
The number is growing with more and people from several villages including Vargigonda in Thotapalle in Nellore district complaining of eye ailments after treatment in Kurnool district.
Nellore collector B Sridhar confirmed that 82 more people at Varigonda in Thotapalle Gudur mandal in the district, who took the herbal medicine in Kurnool district for cataract, were found suffering from an eye infection.
He suspected the role of a middleman or men in motivating Nellore district people to go to Kurnool district for treatment and directed RTA officials to seize vehicles carrying people from Nellore district to Kunool.
He also directed revenue divisional officer Madhavi to inquire into the incident and wrote to his counterpart in Kurnool district C. Sudarsan Reddy on the matter.
When contacted by Express, Sridhar said he had received a report from the Nellore district medical and health officer and ordered stopping of people from going to Kurnool district for herbal treatment of cataract.
DMHO Masilamani, who visited Varigonda on Friday, quoted the victims as having said that a white liquid was administered into both eyes and ears to cure cataract and some other ailments.
Kasani Venkataramaiah (55) of Varigonda, who took the herbal medicine for severe headache, said a white liquid resembling ‘Jilledu paalu’ (milk of calotropis or gigantic swallow wort) was administered into his ears.
After four days, he developed severe body pains and has remained bedridden since.
He did not disclose the name of the person who administered the liquid but said he had paid a middleman Rs 700 towards transport and Rs 100 to the ‘doctor’ for the medicine