Mysterious Disease Hits Andhra Pradesh’s Eluru. What We Know So Far


Mysterious Disease Hits Andhra Pradesh’s Eluru. What We Know So Far

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Last year, during November and December, a mysterious disease began spreading in Wuhan, China, and we all know how that turned out. Now, as the wretched, Covid-19 pandemic year of 2020 comes to an end, there are reports of another mysterious disease, spreading much closer home. Over the weekend, in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, there was an outbreak of an illness that the authorities and medical professionals have not yet been able to identify. Over 290 people have already been afflicted by the disease since the first patients were admitted to hospitals on Saturday, 5 December. The symptoms include vomiting, giddiness, headaches, and epileptic fits, and one patient, a 45-year-old man, died on Sunday.

The situation is being taken seriously by the authorities, with Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister, YS Jagmohan Reddy, scheduled to visit Eluru today and meet with patients and hospital officials. Meanwhile Deputy CM and Heath Minister AKK Srinivas, visited Eluru hospitals on Sunday and said that there was no need to panic. “Most of the victims have recovered and others are stable. We have readied 50 beds in the GGH in Vijayawada to shift patients, if required. Our medical teams are attending to every patient,” he said. The minister also said that 170 people had been discharged from the hospital, and a house-to-house survey was being conducted in the affected areas.

In an effort to identify the cause of this disease, authorities have already ruled out water contamination. Health personnel have been conducting blood tests, brain scans, and Cerebral Spinal Fluid tests, but have not yet been able to find a reason for the outbreak in Eluru. The district’s Joint Collector, Himanshu Shukla, told reporters that teams were still waiting for culture tests and E-coli results to learn more about this mystery disease. Scientists from Hyderabad’s National Institute of Nutrition are visiting Eluru today, and a team of five doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri, are also monitoring patients.

The outbreak of this bizarre new disease in Eluru is proof that even in its last few weeks, 2020 still has some nasty surprises in store.