VIJAYAWADA: During a video conference with doctors and experts from the Central research institutes, including AIIMS, NIN, IICT, CCMB, NCDC and NIV, on reasons pertaining to the mystery illness in Eluru of West Godavari district on Friday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked them to study every aspect to find out the exact cause of it.
Experts of AIIMS and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and officials of the Municipal Administration Department informed him that there was no evidence of contamination of drinking water.
The reason for the presence of organochlorine and organophosphorus in the blood samples of those who fell ill, is yet to be ascertained. The government has also constituted a 21-member committee to probe the mystery illness. The next review meeting of the CM with the experts will be held on Wednesday.
Jagan said emphasis should be laid on preventing the stray usage of banned pesticides and immediate action should be taken against dealers if banned pesticides are sold. Only pesticides and fertilisers approved by Rythu Bharosa Kendras should be supplied to farmers and an awareness should be created among them about the adverse effects of the excessive use of the farm inputs on environment.
He directed the officials to conduct tests on the pesticides and it should be done for the next one month. Organic farming should be promoted in a big way. Rice samples should also be collected for testing, he said.
The health officials informed him that only two fresh cases were reported. Only eight people in Vijayawada and five in Eluru are undergoing treatment and all others are discharged from hospitals. Samples are being taken from animals and sent to Bhopal for testing. Fish samples are also being collected for testing, they said.
The AIIMS team said 16 water samples were tested and high concentration of lead and nickel was not found. Tests are being conducted again. Nickel was detected in the primary investigation of milk and it is being further studied.
“Nickel and lead were detected in blood samples and lead is found in urine samples. Pesticides also might have caused the current situation as they contain heavy metals. The samples were sent to CFSL to determine the presence of organochlorine and the results are awaited,” they said.
The team of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, said 21 drinking water samples were examined and the water is clean. “No trace of lead or organochlorine or organophosphate was found,” they said and added that blood samples contained lead and organochlorine. The presence of organochlorine and organophosphorus was detected in serum samples. They are of the opinion that the illness might have been caused by both organochlorine and organo-phosphorus.
The National Institute of Nutrition experts said their preliminary investigations revealed that pesticide residue was the cause of the outbreak of the unknown illness and thorough research needs to be done in this regard. They said further analysis of samples is still going on. Mercury traces in rice are high and more testing is needed. Pesticide residue was also found in tomato and organophosphorus in the blood samples. They said it is yet to be identified as how they entered the human body.
The expert committee of NEER, Hyderabad, said samples of underground water were collected and being tested. Results are awaited. The officials of the municipal department said more than 100 samples of drinking water were tested and no traces of heavy metals, organochlorine or organophosphorus were found.
The Institute of Preventive Medicine tested 19 water samples and found pesticide residue in them. No trace of heavy metals was found and e coli in water was reported normal. The AP Pollution Control Board also conducted tests and found that gases in the atmosphere are normal.
Health Minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar and West Godavari Collector R Mutyalaraju participated in the meeting from Eluru. Botcha Satyanarayana, CS Nilam Sawhney and others were also present.