VIJAYAWADA: Experts of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, have found high presence of lead and nickel in the blood samples of people affected by mystery illness in Eluru of West Godavari district.
A report on the results of blood samples was submitted to the State Health Department on Tuesday. Initially, 10 blood samples of the patients were sent to AIIMS. After that, 40 blood and urine samples were sent to AIIMS for testing.
“Traces of lead and nickel were more than normal in the blood samples sent to AIIMS. Lead is neurotoxin and affects the nervous system. However, it is too early to come to a conclusion. We may be able to ascertain the cause of the illness after getting the results of blood and urine samples from AIIMS,” Eluru Government General Hospital Superintendent Dr AV Mohan told TNIE.
According to the GGH Superintendent, the number of cases came down on Tuesday, compared to the last two days. Out of the total 565 cases, 450 patients were discharged from the hospital. At present, 81 patients are undergoing treatment at the GGH. In all, 29 patients were shifted to government hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur, the GGH chief said.
Meanwhile, expert teams from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) are conducting community surveys in Eluru. They are also collecting samples of water and milk from the localities where more cases were reported.
Blood and urine samples of patients undergoing treatment and those discharged were also collected. NIN is likely to come up with its findings by Friday. Dr JJ Babu, head of the four-member NIN team, said, “Once we do the lab tests, we will be able to pinpoint the cause of the unknown disease.”
As many as 22 water samples were tested and no presence of e coli was found in them. However, pesticide residue was found in the samples. Even the culture test of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) came negative for known viruses and bacteria.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is closely monitoring the situation in Eluru, held a review meeting with the health officials. He was apprised of the situation in Eluru. They informed him that more samples were sent to AIIMS for further analysis. Reports from IICT and other labs are also expected soon, they said. The Chief Minister instructed the officials to submit a detailed report on all the tests conducted pertaining to the unknown illness.
He underlined the need for a thorough probe into the presence of heavy metals like nickel and lead in the blood of several people of different localities in Eluru, besides providing proper medical treatment to all the patients admitted to hospitals. “The Public Health and other departments should find out the reasons that led to the outbreak of the inexplicable disease at the earliest,” he said.
Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan spoke to the CM over phone and enquired about the situation in Eluru. Jagan briefed the Governor about the number of cases, recoveries and provision of medical treatment to the affected people. He said NIN, AIIMS, IICT and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) were roped in to ascertain the cause of the mystery illness.
Find out reason: CM to officials
CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who reviewed the situation in Eluru, directed officials to find out the exact reason for the mystery illness at the earliest by holding a thorough probe.