A mystery disease has hit Andhra Pradesh's Eluru town this weekend, with nearly 140 people falling sick with symptoms such as nausea, fainting and signs of fits.
The incident in the One-Town area triggered panic among the city residents as talk of a mysterious disease afflicting people spread.
Dozens of people, including children, suddenly fell unconscious after suffering from symptoms of fits and nausea on Saturday, but all of them turned normal within a few minutes.
However, the number rose rapidly this morning with a local hospital admitting 140 patients overnight.
"Number of people falling sick in Eluru is increasing. From last night to this morning around 140 persons were admitted & discharged. Symptoms include nausea & fainting. Reason for sudden increase is not yet known," Dr Mohan, Superintendent of Eluru Government Hospital, was quoted as saying by ANI.
Reason for sickness not yet known
Doctors confirmed that all of them are now safe and stable. But the reason for sickness is not yet known. Doctors said that they have sent the blood samples of the patients to Vijayawada government hospital for testing.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AKK Srinivas (Nani) who came to know the matter rushed to the hospital and visited the patients.
"The doctors are trying to explore the reason for en mass sicknesses. All the patients are now stable. A girl is sent to Vijayawada for better treatment. Doctors` team went to the area where so many people fell sick at a time, and are conducting medical tests in every house in that area," he added.
'No need to panic'
Nani, who represents Eluru, said everything was normal and there was no need for panic.
"We have collected blood samples and sent them for examination to determine the cause of the disease, Nani said.
Most victims minor
About 60% of the victims were in the 10-18 age group while others were older.
West Godavari district Joint Collector Himanshu Shukla told PTI over phone that a CT scan of the victims was also taken and everything turned out to be normal.
This could be a case of viral infection, he said.
These people complained of body pains, headache, nausea and symptoms of fits before falling unconscious. But within 10-15 minutes, they became normal and there is nothing serious, Himanshu pointed out.
A paediatrician and neurosurgeon were treating the patients and beds have also been readied in the GGH to attend to any emergency, he added.
Water sample collected
Water samples have been collected from the One-Town area to check whether any contamination caused the sudden outbreak.
These cases are sporadic and not widespread even in that particular locality. But we are examining all factors, Himanshu said.
Chandrababu Naidu says contaminated water caused sickness, slams govt
Former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu said the children fell ill after drinking contaminated water in Eluru as he slammed the state government.
"Shocked & enraged at AP Govt's apathy towards people. About 150 people, mostly children have taken ill after drinking contaminated water in Eluru because the irresponsible Govt hasn't cared to clean local drinking water bodies since 18 months," Naidu said.
"Ironically, this is Health Minister's constituency. The Eluru incident has brought forth an irresponsible YSRCP Govt's collective lack of conscience and inability to govern yet again," he added.