ELURU: Around 8:30 am on November 30, 13-year-old B Venkata Ramakrishna suddenly suffered seizures and fell off his bed. His family members were shocked at the sight, for, he never had seizures in the past.
"He woke up as usual that day and had breakfast at 8 am. After washing his hands, he sat on the bed feeling dizzy. I suggested he lie down and I went into the kitchen. Within a few minutes, he rolled off the bed shouting loudly and convulsing," B Rajeswari, mother of Ramakrishna, told The New Indian Express, recalling the scary moments.
Watching her son like that, all that Rajeswari could do was scream for help. Her neighbours rushed in. Noticing the boy's condition, they crushed onion and garlic and made the boy smell the pungent odour.
It was the only home remedy they could think of at that time, but Ramakrishna did not respond. His condition deteriorated fast and he began frothing at the mouth. "I didn’t know what to do. My husband Srinivasa Rao and elder son Goutham Sai (14) were in a state of shock. We rushed him to a hospital, where our family doctor Ravindranath works," she said.
Soon after he was admitted, a team of doctors examined him and conducted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) scans to diagnose his condition. Scan reports were normal. He was kept under observation for 24 hours by providing oxygen support.
On December 1, Ramakrishna was discharged from the hospital much to the relief of his parents. Doctors prescribed him a course of medicine for seizures and vitamin capsules for the next 10 days.
Asked whether the locality they live in has any issues related to water supply, sanitation and poor hygiene, Rajeswari complained of pigs and mosquito menace. "Though we took the issue to the notice of the municipal corporation officials, no action has been taken so far," she said.
However, she maintained that there has been no water problem or hygiene problem, as garbage is collected by the civic workers regularly. Even as she talked, the child stood by listening. He has no clue what had happened to him, except that he was not well.
Even as Ramakrishna was recovering, his 36-year-old neighbour P Radha collapsed in her kitchen and had seizures on December 4th morning. She was preparing coffee for her husband at the time. Her family members rushed her to a private hospital when home remedies failed. Doctors at the private hospital referred her to the government hospital.
"The doctors took an MRI scan and performed an EEG. Results were normal. Later, they prescribed vitamin tablets for a week. She was discharged in the afternoon. Around 4 pm, a medical team from GGH came to our house. They took my wife and our neighbour Ramakrishna along with them to the hospital and asked them about the symptoms,"Prasad, husband of Radha said.
He said they were in the grip of fear and unaware of what was going on elsewhere in the town. He ruled out it being contagious, as he and his two children have not suffered from any illness after the incident.
His neighbour Ramisetty Brahmanandam, a shopkeeper, said he was worried about what might happen to his family as more and more people from their locality and other parts of the town, including Padamara Veedhi, Kobbari Thota, Maheswari Colony, Gandhi Colony, Tangellamudi and Kothapeta, are being admitted in droves to the government hospital with complaints of seizures. "Though none of my family members have suffered, I am planning to go to Hyderabad for safety... and return only after the situation is back to normal," he said.