On Dec. 6, hundreds of people were hospitalized with an unknown illness. Cases of this have been recorded, located in Andhra Pradesh, the most populous state in India. CBS News states that “A ‘mystery’ illness linked to one death put more than 300 people in the hospital over the weekend in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Dozens of residents in Eluru city started falling ill on Saturday night, with some losing consciousness.” The people have been picking up this illness with symptoms of epilepsy and nausea. AP News says that India has one of the worst number of Coronavirus cases, with over 800,000. However, none of the patients of the mystery illness tested positive for COVID-19.
According to CNN News, “More than 500 have been hospitalized for an unidentified illness in southeastern India,” said Dolla Joshi Roy, the district surveillance officer of Eluru’s West Godavari District. Samples from the patients were tested by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), where traces of lead and nickel were identified in their blood. AIIMS then checked water samples, but didn’t find any traces of nickel or lead.
Live Science says that health officials have been looking for any possible culprits of the illness, but have not found any yet. The state’s Health Minister, Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, says that water contamination and air pollution are the most probable causes of the illness, but further testing is still being conducted for any pathogens like E. Coli.
By taking a further look into the dynamics of this sickness, health officials may be able to prevent more devastation. The best health organizations have been working on it, but not much information has been uncovered yet. Officials do not know if this newly discovered sickness is contagious or not, but after the COVID-19 pandemic, they will surely take all possible precautions to contain it early to avoid yet another devastating pandemic.