Forty persons fell sick after consuming spurious toddy and were admitted to Gandhi Medical Hospital in the city on Monday evening and Tuesday.
They are believed to have consumed toddy bought from a shop at Harijan Basti in RK Puram, near Neredmet, in Secunderabad on Sunday and started feeling the side-effects on Monday.
The affected persons, many of whom are women, showed neurological symptoms but not gastro-intestinal sickness like vomiting and diarrhea. According to doctors at Gandhi Hospital, symptoms usually seen in adulterations involving common sedatives like diazepam, alprazolom and chlorahydrate were not found in these patients. “The patients are showing symptoms like neck rigidity, dystonia, involuntary muscle contractions, etc. All of them are stable and there is no threat to their lives,” the doctors said.
Aspirate from stomach wash and blood samples were sent for chemical analysis to identify the toxins present in the toddy, they said.
Malkajgiri excise officials have arrested an employee of the toddy shop, Menipu Raju of RK puram while shop owner I.Mahesh Goud of Neredmet is absconding. “We have arrested the person who was running the toddy shop and are searching for its owner,” excise inspector A Satyanarayana said.
On Sunday, some drank as usual, some at a wedding party and some others on way to Medaram Jatara, but all of them suffered body rigidity and muscle contraction within 24 hours.
D Babu, a resident of Trimulgherry, who accompanied two of his cousins from Harijan Basti, said, “They both drink regularly but we had no idea what happened to them. Only after bringing them to hospital and seeing others with similar symptoms did we realise that it was the spurious liquor that caused the problems.” Most of them either could not talk or remained semi-paralysed.
Sampath Kumar, a 22-year-old truck driver, consumed toddy along with his family members after his wedding on Sunday. Just a day later, he was lying on the hospital bed along with his family members.
Said Mallesh, a welder, standing next to his wife Sayamma: “We had gone to the Medaram Jatara in Warangal district and taken bottles of toddy from the shop in Basti. My wife consumed it at Medaram and by the time we returned on Monday, she started feeling rigid.”