On Tuesday, the word out of New Delhi, India, is that both experts and health officials remain baffled. In the southern state of Andhar Pradesh, a mysterious illness has broken out that has left a reported 500 people hospitalized and one person confirmed dead.
The director for public health, Geeta Prasadini, states that the mysterious illness was first detected on Saturday in the ancient city of Eluru, known for its hand-woven products. Reports indicated that residents began to convulse without warning and for no apparent reason.
Since that initial report, 546 individuals have been admitted to hospitals, with symptoms said to range from nausea to anxiety to those individuals who lost consciousness. Many are stated to have recovered and allowed to return home. However, 148 are still under observation and treatment, according to a government spokesperson.
Scientific experts from India's top institutes have been arriving in number to the city. Several theories have been suggested, and as a result, are currently being tested for validity. The most common theory is that of pesticides having contaminated the food supply.
Prasadini is quick to admit: "But nobody knows."
What makes the sudden illness so mysterious lies, in fact, that there is no common visible link amongst the various victims. All of those who fell ill have reported being tested for COVID-19, dengue, chikungunya, and herpes and were determined negatively.
The victims are not related to one another, nor do they even live in the same areas. They are from various age groups, 70 of which are children, and there are very few of the sick being said to be elderly.
The first thought was that the illness was contracted through contaminated water. However, it has been confirmed that some fell ill that are known to use the municipal water supply. And, upon initial testing of samples of the water, no known harmful chemicals were revealed.
A 45-year-old man, who was presenting with symptoms thought to be epilepsy, died Sunday evening. An ordered autopsy was unable to offer any information on just what caused the man's death. At this point, the primary working hypothesis is that those who fell victim may have eaten vegetables that had been tainted with phosphorous.
However, this thought is only being seen as an "assumption" and is more based on the fact that the pesticides in question are used on a common basis and not because of any evidence gathered as of yet. At present, Prasadini states that various experts were doing testing to see if the possibility exists that pesticides contaminated fish ponds or vegetables.
Do you think the mysterious illness is from pesticide contamination?