A suspected incident of water contamination is believed to be the reason behind falling ill of at least 227 persons in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. However, officials are not ruling out viral encephalitis.
The incident happened in Eluru town; to be specific in four societies of Ashok Nagar and Arundhatipet. Water contamination was reported from these two areas just 10 days back. Those taken ill include even children as young as just four years old, reports said.
“The number of people falling sick in Eluru is increasing. Around 140 persons were admitted and discharged since last night till this morning. Their symptoms include nausea and fainting. The reason for this sudden increase is not yet known,” Eluru Government Hospital superintendent Dr Mohan told news agency ANI.
About 100 additional beds have been made available at the government facility in a precautionary measure.
Blood samples of those fallen ill have been collected to find the reason behind the illness, said District Collector R Muthyala Raju, according to The Indian Express. A door-to-door survey is being done to check for water contamination in affected areas, he said.
Teams of doctors from Vijayawada are on their way to Eluru to help the medical teams there and to probe the case of illness, according to Health Minister Kali Krishna Srinivas.
A medical officer said the patients had suddenly started vomiting and complained of burning sensation in eyes while some even fainted. Some of them were brought to the Eluru hospital in critical condition but are all now safe, he said, according to the report.
The YSR Congress government in the state has drawn flak from the opposition Telugu Desam Party over the incident. Former chief minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu alleged the drinking water bodies have not been cleaned for the last 18 months.