General, Research, Technology

India reveals new disease with symptoms similar to epilepsy

A year ago, disturbing news began to come fromChina - it was then that the Covid-19 disease was first discovered. Now, concerns are raised by news from India: According to the Associated Press, a sudden outbreak of a mysterious new disease in the country has led to the hospitalization of almost 600 people. The first reports of the disease, whose symptoms range from headache, vomiting and muscle pain to epileptic seizures, came in early December from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, located on the country's southeast coast. In most cases, the symptoms persisted for 10-15 minutes, and patients could not remember what happened to them. Since then, there have been hundreds of reported cases, with Indian health officials apparently not clear on what is going on. Fortunately, most of the hospitalized patients have already recovered and been sent home, but not without a fatal accident. The autopsy results, unfortunately, did not shed light on the nature of the mysterious disease. We tell you what is known about the disease and whether it is worth worrying about it.

Pictured is an employee of the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.

New disease in India

The Indian city of Eluru is under intentthe attention of journalists and experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) since December 5. Eluru's state has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but no SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection has been identified among hospitalized patients, the Associated Press reports. Moreover, none of the patients had any viral infections, including mosquito-borne infections such as Dengue and Chikungunya fever. But how did it all start?

As CNN reports, on December 5, symptoms of the diseasemanifested themselves at once in hundreds of people. It is noteworthy that there was nothing in common among the hospitalized patients, since they are all of different age groups, live in different parts of the city, and also received drinking water from sources not related to each other. Drinking water was almost immediately named as a possible source of infection, among other hypotheses - none of which have been confirmed to date - poisoning with pesticides and chemicals.

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More than 500 people have been hospitalized for an unknown illness in Eluru, a city famous for its handicrafts.

According to the Indostan Times, researchers from the Indian Institute of Health Sciences have found traces of lead and nickel in blood samples some patients.Heavy metals are known to have neurotoxic effects on the human body. Water, milk and food were tested as sources of possible contamination, but no traces of heavy metals were found.

“We have previously identified the root cause of thisstrange phenomenon, but it is not yet clear what exactly is its source and how and why it happened. For example, the chemicals were found in the bodies of patients, but not in water or any other food substance, ”Indian Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar told The Times.

Given the number of people hospitalized for workvarious expert groups were recruited, according to the Hindustan Times. The state government is reviewing the reports, and Andhra Pradesh's chief minister, IP, Jaganmohan Reddy, held a videoconference with the medical profession. Two people who presented with similar symptoms died on December 10, but officials say they had other health problems.

What exactly is known about what happened?

  • > Experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi (AIIMS) and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology found lead and nickel in blood samples from patients.
  • > National Institute of Nutrition found tracesmercury in rice; and pesticide and herbicide residues in excess amounts in vegetables. The researchers also found residues of organophosphates in the patients' blood, but how exactly they got into the victim's body is not known.
  • > An ambient air and water quality survey conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Authority did not reveal the presence of heavy metals in water and air.
  • The Institute for Preventive Medicine found no heavy metals in milk in its analysis.
  • > Experts are also investigating whether the overuse of chlorine and bleaching powder in health programs has led to Covid-19 poisoning.

300 people were discharged from hospitals, 19 patients were transferred to other hospitals to continue treatment.

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Although water pollution is excluded according toAccording to initial findings, officials are asking experts to retest drinking water samples as Vijayawada's private laboratory showed drinking water supplied to parts of India contains a large amount of various pesticide residues, thousands of times higher than the permissible limits.

“We have eliminated water or air pollution afterof how the officials visited the areas where people fell ill. This is some kind of mysterious disease, and only laboratory analysis will show what it is, ”the Minister of Health told the BBC.

The authorities of India and the state of Andhra Pradesh expectthe arrival of WHO experts to the city of Eluru to conduct an investigation. So far, we can say that the outbreak of a mysterious disease is unlikely to be associated with infectious diseases and will certainly not lead to serious consequences. Nevertheless, the attention of WHO experts and the general public to new outbreaks of diseases unknown to science today is more than justified.