What Is This Mystery Illness of Eluru?

What Is This Mystery Illness of Eluru?

Andhra Pradesh’s Eluru continues to be in the national limelight after the breakout of a mysterious, epilepsy-like mystery illness that has led to the hospitalization of 500+ patients. So what are the possible causes? What do the medical experts say? Let’s find out.

Crux of the Matter

People with the mystery illness at Eluru are showing the following symptoms:

Does This Ring A Bell?
Yes. These symptoms are similar to what happens in Epilepsy, which is a group of neurological disorders characterized by recurrent seizures. Patients who are kids have a sudden onset of vomiting after feeling a burning sensation in their eyes.

What Was The ‘Epicentre’?
The disease was found to have started in the One Town area of Eluru (in Andhra Pradesh), before spreading to other parts of the city like the rural area and Denduluru village.

Is It Fatal?
The only confirmed death is of a 45-year-old man. Other than that, 500+ people have been stricken by the disease and over 300 of them are children.

Could It Be A Covid-19 Mutation?
Thankfully, no. Samples from patients and of the local water were collected on the same day and sent to worldwide specialists like AIIMS, WHO, and the ICMR for analysis. However, the tests could not detect any water pollution or known virus infections like Covid-19.

So What Can Be The Cause(s)?
1. Preliminary results pointed to high nickel and lead content in drinking water and milk, which may have acted as agents for lead poisoning.
2. Pesticides may have leached into the water supply after flash floods.
3. Improper disposal of batteries.
4. Excessive bleaching and chlorinating of the water supply to prevent Covid-19 transmission.

Have There Been Any New Cases?
No new cases were recorded as of 12th December. Andhra Pradesh’s health minister, Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas has stated that “the city is heading towards a zero mystery illness situation.”

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  • An idiopathic disease is any disease with an unknown cause or mechanism of apparent spontaneous origin. For some medical conditions, one or more causes are somewhat understood, but in a certain percentage of people with the condition, the cause may not be readily apparent or characterized. In these cases, the origin of the condition is said to be idiopathic.
  • Eluru is a city and the district headquarters of West Godavari district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is on the Tammileru river and is well known for its wool-pile carpets and hand woven products.
  • A diagnosis of exclusion is a diagnosis of a medical condition reached by a process of elimination, which may be necessary if presence cannot be established with complete confidence from history, examination, or testing.

Hantavirus – More Viral Fear from China


While the world still fights the pandemic Novel Coronavirus, people were thrown in a state of panic after hearing about a Chinese person dying of Hantavirus.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Another Virus Scare from China
Hantavirus is not a new virus. However, the medication available for this virus is limited today. A man from Yunnan province in China died of the virus while traveling to Shandong province, stated Global-Times. The other 32 on-board passengers are also being tested for the virus. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hantavirus found in America is known as “New World” Hantavirus. “New World” Hantavirus may cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). But another type of Hantavirus found in Asia and Europe, known as “Old World” Hantavirus, may cause Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).

History of Hantavirus
Hantavirus is named after the river Hanta in South Korea. As the virus spread for the first time through an infected rodent in the small field near river Hanta, it is named Hantavirus. During the Korean War, 3000 soldiers were tested positive with Hantavirus and fell victims of hemorrhagic fever, of whom 10% died.

Corona v/s Hanta
The virus spreads only by the host rodents, which makes it significantly less infectious than Novel Coronavirus. People get infected with Hantavirus when they breathe the virus stirred up in the air from rodents’ urine, droppings and nesting material. Symptoms of Hantavirus are dizziness, fever, headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is hard to find symptoms of Hantavirus in the initial stages and can be mistaken for influenza.


How do Viruses Spread?
A virus particle or a virion consists of nucleic acid, coat of protein and lipid membrane. Unlike human cells or bacteria, viruses don’t contain the enzymes needed to carry out the chemical reactions for life. Instead, they carry only one or two enzymes that decode their genetic instructions. So, a virus must have a host cell (bacteria, plant or animal) in order to live and make more viruses.

Once they enter the desired host cell available in its nearest vicinity, they follow the lytic cycle to invade its chemical machinery. As they start attacking cells in a human body, the immune system responds to the infection, and in the process of fighting, it produces chemicals called pyrogens that cause your body temperature to increase. This fever helps you to fight the infection by slowing down the rate of viral reproduction. Generally, the body’s chemical reactions have an optimal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). More Info