Eluru (Andhra Pradesh) - After ruling out contamination of water and milk for the mysterious illness reported in Eluru in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, officials are now collecting vegetables samples from 20 affected places for testing.
"We are collecting vegetables samples from top 20 places. Cases are being reported in the entire Municipal Corporation area," Himanshu Shukla, West Godavari Joint District Collector told IANS.
To zero in on the places from where vegetables are procured, he said the patients are being asked for information.
"Till now, water has been tested for heavy metals, pesticides and any other toxin. I think we will not find anything in water. There are some test results which are to come," said Shukla.
With water and milk ruled out behind the mysterious disease, a team of experts on Monday evening suggested that vegetables be subjected to tests as well.
Officials have meantime sent urine and blood samples of the affected persons for testing.
Meanwhile, the cases of mysterious illness shot up to 455, of which 263 have been discharged, leaving 174 persons undergoing treatment.
Shukla said that they are getting support from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, National Institute of Nutrition, National Institute of Virology, National Centre for Disease Control, and Indian Council for Medical Research.
"Today, World Health Organisation has also come to our help. There are many agencies who are trying to find out the cause. So, gradually, we are trying to rule out the possibility," he said.
Teams of up to six experts from all these leading institutions are toiling to identify what the mysterious disease is all about.
According to a source in Eluru, mysterious illness cases had been reported in Andhra hospitals now and then for the past fortnight.
"Doctors thought that it was epilepsy (fits) and gave relevant treatment and sent away patients. But now Andhra hospitals have been instructed not to admit patients," said the source.
Cases started rising from Friday night and spiked on Saturday, reaching 455 by Monday night.
People affected by the mysterious illness complained of 3 to 5 minutes of epileptic fits without repetition, forgetfulness, anxiety, vomiting, headache, and back pain. (IANS)