India Medical News: New Strange Disease Affecting Hundreds In India With Neurological Manifestations. A New SARS-CoV-2 Strain?
India Medical News
: Health authorities in the town of Eluru in the Southern state of Andhra Pradesh are reporting the emergence of a new strange disease that has affected more than 487 individuals so far with one death.
Most manifest symptoms similar to epilepsy attacks that last for few minutes and loss of memory coupled with anxiety, nausea, headache and back pain and a few with fever.
However testing with current COVID-19 PCR platforms have yielded negative results making local health authorities to rule out COVID-19.
However a virologist from New Delhi warned that certain emerging SARS-CoV-2 strains can be not detected by the current Nasal Swab PCR tests and suggest that swab specimens be sent for genomic screenings as a safeguard.
It was reported that hundreds of individuals have been treated for mystery illness in the southern Indian town, with one doctor ruling out "mass hysteria" at a time nerves are already frayed because of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The Indian government rushed medical experts to Eluru in Andhra Pradesh state to investigate the illness, which first appeared Saturday causing seizures, nausea and chronic pain.
Health authorities said that nearly 487 individuals have been treated with most swiftly recovering but the death of a 45-year-old man at the weekend was attributed to the mystery disease.
Already India is already in grip of the COVID-19 outbreak with the world's second-highest number of cases that is soon expected to pass 10 million.
A senior physician at Eluru government hospital said, "Some authorities are claiming that it is mass hysteria but it is not.”
He added that most patients had suffered genuine symptoms, but "we are unable to diagnose what is causing it".
Some health officials pinpointed a possible role of chemical additives in pesticides, while residents have highlighted a problem with garbage and feral pigs.
The local health officials released a report on Monday which said symptoms included "epilepsy for 3-5 minutes, forgetfulness, anxiety, vomiting, headache and back pain."
The Indian government has sent doctors from the National Institute of Virology, National Centre for Disease Control and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have been sent to investigate.
The medical teams were collecting samples of edible oil, rice, blood and urine for analysis.
A doctor at the city government hospital said, "Most of the patients are coming in with minor head injuries or a black eye as they collapsed suddenly with the seizure. But within one or two hours most of them are fine."
A police constable who collapsed while on duty Monday said he had been left "scared" after being semi-conscious for more than two hours.
He said, "My colleagues told me, I shouted something and collapsed. I injured my right shoulder due to falling on the road."
The local district officials are insisting the illness is not spread person-to-person.
The officials released a preliminary report on Monday which said symptoms included "epilepsy for 3-5 minutes, forgetfulness, anxiety, vomiting, headache and back pain".
Most patients had a wide range of symptoms from nausea to fits and falling unconscious, doctors said.
Health Officials are investigating the cause of the illness, which swept through the town of Eluru over the weekend.
The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has been one of the worst-affected states - at more than 800,000, it has the country's third-highest case count.
The Andhra Pradesh health minister, Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, said that all the patients had tested negative for coronavirus.
"The people who fell sick, especially the children, suddenly started vomiting after complaining of burning eyes. Some of them fainted or suffered bouts of seizures," a medical officer at Eluru Government Hospital told media.
The Andhra Pradesh state's chief minister, Jaganmohan Reddy, said that special medical teams are being sent to Eluru to investigate the cause of the illness. Mr Reddy is also expected to visit the town to meet the patients and their families.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has been informed of this development and local teams are also conducting genomic sequencing on patients urine and blood samples to detect any pathogens including viruses or new SARS-CoV-2 strains.
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