Hundreds sickened by ‘mystery’ illness in India, at least 1 dead

Health officials in India are investigating a mystery illness that has sent hundreds to the hospital and left at least one dead. Doctors ruled out COVID-19 in over 200 of the cases that were discharged over the weekend, according to Reuters.

The cases were first discovered in Eluru on Saturday and are clustered in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which has seen over 800,000 cases of coronavirus, according to the Times of India. But this illness, which has sickened over 300 children, is reportedly causing patients to fall unconscious and suffer seizures and nausea, a senior health department official told Reuters.

Other outlets, such as the Associated Press, have the number of cases reported closer to 200.

“The causes of the outbreak are not known yet,” the state government said, according to the report, adding that it is striking people in all age groups.

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The outbreak’s one fatality involves a 45-year-old man, a public health director said on Monday.

“We have taken the patients’ blood samples for serological investigation and bacterial investigation to rule out any time of meningitis,” Geeta Prasadini said, according to Reuters.

Over 200 people have been hospitalized due to an unidentified illness in this ancient city famous for its hand woven products. 
(AP Photo)

Additional testing of local water samples and door-to-door surveys are taking place, officials said.

The state’s chief minister, Jaganmohan Reddy, told BBC News that blood samples did not reveal evidence of viral infection, and that the agency had already ruled out water contamination and air pollution as a possible cause.

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“It is some mystery illness and only lab analysis will reveal what it is,” Reddy told the news outlet.

It was not clear when that analysis would be complete.