Blood samples taken from 10 out of 550 patients with abnormal seizures in the city of Eluru, Andhra Pradesh state, tested to detect lead and nickel contamination.
“Strange disease” broke out in Eluru city over the weekend, at least 347 people were hospitalized. 117 people were released from the hospital after recovering, one died during hospital treatment.
The patient suddenly lost consciousness after symptoms such as tremors, bubbling in the mouth and nausea appeared.
Experts team of the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) visited the hospital, collecting blood samples from patients for testing.
“Samples taken from 10 people showed high levels of lead and nickel in their blood,” said hospital director Eluru AV Mohan.
Medical officials request an investigation of the origin of the metals and how they were dispersed. Mohan added that the test sample was too small to be sure of lead and nickel causing the disease that swept the city of 200,000 people.
There are no major chemical plants in the area. Broader tests on water sources, even drinking milk in the city, were carried out. Experts from the National Institutes of Health are collecting samples of cooking oil, rice and urine for analysis.
According to a local official, AIIMS experts believe that the organic chlorine from mosquito spray is more likely to be the cause of the disease. This information is currently unconfirmed.
Bao Chau (According to the AFP)