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Eluru mystery illness: Recycling of batteries might be the cause of disease, AIIMS experts tell CM

Some experts also suspected that bleaching powder and chlorine used for sanitation as part of the measures to prevent Covid-19 spread might be another cause of illness. 

Published: 10th December 2020 08:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2020 06:36 PM   |  A+A-

Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) inspects Pampula Cheruvu in Eluru on Wednesday. (Photo | EPS)

Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) inspects Pampula Cheruvu in Eluru on Wednesday. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Doctors and experts from AIIMS, Delhi, who are roped in to ascertain the cause of mystery illness in Eluru of West Godavari district, have opined that the process of recycling of batteries might have led to the outbreak of the unknown disease.

They, however, felt that comprehensive tests need to be done to ascertain the actual reason for the illness. Some experts also suspected that bleaching powder and chlorine used for sanitation as part of the measures to prevent Covid-19 spread might be  another cause of illness. 

The AIIMS team in its primary investigation found the presence of lead and nickel in the blood samples of those who fell ill. “As Indians do have nickel in their bodies, the presence of lead might have caused the illness.

It was also found that there is a significant drop in the level of lead in the bodies of patients 24 hours after being taken ill,’’ the experts from the premier institute told Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who took stock of the situation through a video conference with experts of various institutes, which are analysing the reason for the illness, and West Godavari district medical and health officials on Wednesday. Experts from WHO, NIN, CCMB and IICT also took part in the video conference on the unknown disease. 

Excessive use of pesticides might be another cause of illness: Experts

Briefing the Chief Minister, the AIIMS experts said the process of recycling of batteries or due to indiscriminate dumping of broken batteries or setting the batteries afire, might have polluted the air and soil. Apart from this, there is a possibility that the heavy metal might have entered the human body through rice or vegetables which were exposed to lead particles, they felt. “We will also test water and milk samples and come to a definite conclusion on the causes of illness at the earliest,” they told the CM. Experts from AIIMS, Mangalagiri, said, in their primary findings, it was revealed that pesticides might have contaminated the organic chlorides.

They, however, said they are yet to arrive at a definite conclusion on the cause of unknown disease. Meanwhile, WHO experts said they are surveying the areas of the people fallen sick and collecting health details, including the food they have taken. Experts from the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, said they examined food, water, milk, urine and blood samples of the family members of the ill. They also collected samples of vegetables and essentials from the market. “We are conducting comprehensive tests, so far, there are no signs of danger.

We will submit a report on water, food, milk, urine and blood samples soon,’’ they told the Chief Minister. Experts from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology said they are investigating whether the illness is due to any virus. However, they added that it will take sometime to get the test results. Indian Institute of Chemical Technology experts collected drinking water samples for analysis. They opined that indiscriminate use of pesticides might be a reason for the inexplicable disease.

The health officials informed Jagan that the presence of lead and nickel in the patients’ bodies might have caused the illness, which could have happened due to excessive use of pesticides. The number of cases has been steadily declining and the patients are getting recovered within three to four hours, they said. Stating that corrective measures should be taken based on the final outcome of investigations, Jagan directed the authorities to find out whether the illness is due to water contamination or due to another reason.



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