The blood samples of patients suffering from the mysterious disease in Eluru town of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh have shown excessive amounts of heavy metals such as lead and nickel. Commenting on the samples, Himanshu Shukla, joint collector, West Godavari district said, “We found lead and nickel in the blood samples in excess amount. This can be one of the causes. We are sending more samples to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.”
By Tuesday morning, the number of cases increased to 505 and the number of discharged was 332. There are no reports of any casualties other than 45-year-old Sridhar from Vidyanagar who died on Sunday. Meanwhile, tests conducted on the blood samples sent to AIIMS-Delhi have revealed the presence of nickel and lead, which is suspected to have entered the bodies of the patients either through consumption of water or milk. Lead exposure can have serious consequences for the health of human beings. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and even death.
Vegetable samples were already shipped to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad for testing. Other samples have also been flown to Delhi, whose results could be expected in the next 12 hours. Meanwhile, cases of the illness rose to 551, out of which 174 are active while 350 have been discharged. Eluru, 58 km northeast of Vijayawada, headquarters of West Godavari district, is paddy cultivation and aquaculture heavyweight.