Mystery fever in Andhra Pradesh claims one life,  over 290 in hospital

Mystery fever in Andhra Pradesh claims one life, over 290 in hospital

Nothing has been established yet as to what caused the disease that saw people suddenly falling unconscious after suffering from symptoms of fits and nausea

The chaos created by the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is a reminder of how little we comprehend and can monitor and control disease outbreaks. The silver lining in the case of Covid-19, however, is that we know that it is caused by a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). However, there are several instances when scientific society fails to figure out what the source of the disease could be. India has had a few examples of such diseases with mysterious fevers raising concerns amongst Indian health officials.

For instance, the mysterious fever that spread in Assam's Tezpur in August last year. Although all the patients tested negative for suspected malaria, and no cause could be found for their fever, they were treated on the basis of their symptoms. Similarly, in Chaan village in Rajasthan, in a total of 28 blood samples, half were tested positive for dengue, chikungunya or scrub typhus. Also, while three children tested positive for Corynebacterium, another three had malaria.

Malkangiri in Odisha had reported 15 deaths from a mysterious fever. Several patients in the village who suffered from the fever suffered from acute respiratory problems and complained of swelling in their legs and distorted stomachs.

Recently, over 290 people, including women and children, were admitted to the Government General Hospital in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, following an undiagnosed illness in the last couple of days. The unknown disease has claimed one life. According to medical and health officials, around 140 of the patients have returned home after treatment, while the conditions of the rest are stable. However, the reason why people in Eluru are dropping unconscious suddenly and are suffering from symptoms of fits and nausea is unclear. The person, who had died from the mysterious ailment, was admitted to the hospital with nausea and epilepsy symptoms when he collapsed Sunday evening.

According to medical officials, Covid-19 tests were conducted for all patients, with results coming in as negative. CT scans, X-ray and Cerebral Spinal Fluid tests turned out normal. Culture tests results and E-coli results are yet to come in.

A special team of doctors has been dispatched to Eluru to take stock of the situation and identify possible patients via a house-to-house survey. State Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar also reached Eluru to monitor the treatment, while Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has scheduled his visit on Monday, wherein after a visit to the patients, he will hold a review meeting with the West Godavari district officials.

As there was suspicion that water contamination could be a cause for the mysterious disease, according to Deputy Chief Minister (Health) AKK Srinivas, tests have established that this was not the case. Random milk samples have been collected and sent for examination too. "Most of the victims have recovered, and others are stable. We have readied 50 beds in the GGH in Vijayawada to shift patients if required. Our medical teams are attending to every patient," Srinivas said.

The administration has declared a holiday in educational institutions across Eluru, and an around-the-clock control room has been set up at the Eluru Municipal Corporation office. Residents can dial 9154565529 and 9154592617 in case of emergency.

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