A mystery illness in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh led to the hospitalization of more than 300 people and killed one, local media reported on Monday. The number of people falling sick rose at an alarming level over the weekend as state and local officials continue to understand the cause of the illness.
The illness hit Eluru city and initial cases reported on Saturday with 55 people being hospitalized. The number rose to 170 on Sunday morning and 270 by evening. By midnight 315 people were hospitalized, the Hindu newspaper reported. On Monday afternoon, the number of people who fell sick due to the illness stood at 345.
One fatality was reported on Sunday evening and the deceased was identified as a 45-year-old man. Officials at the Government General Hospital in Eluru said they will be performing an autopsy to understand the cause of the illness. Hospital authorities said they conducted Covid-19 tests on the patients and none of them tested positive for coronavirus.
Symptoms of Mystery Illness
Initial reports claimed that water contamination may have led to people falling sick. However, a report released by the district collector ruled out water quality as the reason. The report also stated that the illness was not contagious.
"As of now, the sickness didn't spread from a person to another. There is no age restriction for the sickness. People from areas where Eluru municipal's water distribution is not available also fell sick. Even those who drink only mineral water daily also fell sick," the collector's report stated.
State officials reportedly suspected that poisonous organic substances were likely to be the cause of the illness. Health authorities collected cerebral-spinal fluid samples from the patients and are awaiting results to determine the cause of the illness.
Teams from the World Health Organization, Indian Council of Medical Research and All India Institute of Medical Sciences are among the health bodies that were reportedly examining the mystery illness.