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Eluru's mystery illness: Excess presence of nickel found in milk samples

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Elurus mystery illness: Excess presence of nickel found in milk samples
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A woman showing symptoms of epilepsy being taken to a hospital in Eluru, West Godavari district, December 6, 2020.( Image Courtesy: PTI)

Scientists have found the presence of nickel in milk samples collected from the area in Andhra Pradesh where hundreds of people, particularly children fell sick with a mysterious disease around a week ago

More than 600 people were recently admitted in hospitals with the symptoms of nausea, seizures and fainting in the Eluru town of Andhra.

Samples of blood, urine, milk and even pulses and vegetables were all collected by the scientists from the area and sent to Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Education and laboratories.

On Tuesday four out of five samples were tested positive for the presence of heavy metals. Excessive amounts of lead and nickel were found in the blood samples of patients. Presence of these metals in milk is also a dangerous sign.

Scientists are yet to figure out the manner in which these metals got to be mixed with milk. The large scale dumping of garbage in water bodies and the presence of pesticide in the grasses consumed by cattle is one possible way. Excessive amount of pesticide used in the plants, soil and water has always been a debatable issue as they are proven harmful to humans and animals in myriads of ways.

The source of lead which was found only in the blood samples of patients is also not clear. Excessive lead in the blood can cause neurological disorders in people.

The doctors have no idea about this mysterious illness except that it appears to be mild and not communicable.

Andhra government has formed a 21 member committee to probe the case further and find the source and method of these metals getting inside humans. A two member team from WHO has also arrived in the city to study the case further.

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