A three-member team of medical experts will arrive in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning to investigate the mysterious disease that has begun spreading in the Eluru town, claiming one life and affecting over 350 people so far.
The tem comprises Dr Jamshed Nayar, Associate Professor (Emergency Medicine) from AIIMS, Dr Avinash Deoshtawar, Virologist, NIV PUNE and Dr Sanket Kulkarni, Dy. Director, PH Expert from NCDC, Delhi.
“The Centre is rushing a three-member team of medical experts to Eluru in Andhra Pradesh after the Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today spoke to Union Health Minister, Shri Harsh Vardhan after scores of children were hospitalised with an undiagnosed illness in the past few days,” said a statement issued by Vice President’s Secretariat.
It said after reports of the mysterious disease emerged, the Vice President spoke to District Collector Revu Mutyala Raju to get the firsthand information. “He later spoke to the Director, AIIMS at Mangalagiri and Director, AIIMS Delhi and was informed that blood samples of the children were sent to Delhi,” the statement added.
Naidu, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, also spoke to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and asked him to extend all necessary help in diagnosing and providing treatment to the afflicted children.
Meanwhile, the district collector informed the Vice President that necessary measures were being taken to ascertain the reasons for the illness among the children. He said that a door-to-door survey was being conducted and medical teams from Guntur and Krishna Districts were pressed into service.
According to a health ministry statement, the central team should reach Eluru by Tuesday morning and submit a preliminary report by evening.
People afflicted with the mysterious disease suddenly fell unconscious after suffering from fits and nausea. It started in the One-Town area of Eluru and most of the victims were in the 20-30 age group while there were about 45 children below the age of 12 years.
Health authorities could not yet establish the cause of the disease though blood tests and CT (brain) scans were performed. Cerebral Spinal Fluid tests also turned out to be normal.
Though initially it was suspected that water contamination could have been the cause of the disease, sample tests ruled that out.
A poison control team from the AIIMS had discussed with the doctors at Eluru regarding the incidence on Sunday.
(The story first appeared in The Week)