Mystery illness in India: Nickel and Lead may be the cause

Patients and their bystanders are seen at the district government hospital in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh state, India. | Photo: AP

Andhra Pradesh, India – Health officials from India reveal that nickel and lead could be the cause of the newly found mystery illness that infected over 500 people in India.

On Tuesday, the senior officials investigating the case revealed that traces of lead and nickel were found from the blood samples that were taken from the infected patients in the hospital.

The Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare from the Government of Andhra Pradesh, Katamneni Bhaskar revealed that the blood samples taken by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that there were excessive amount of nickel and lead.

However, the experts from AIIMS are shocked as to how these heavy metals made its way into the patients’  blood. The officials are still not sure whether this is the cause of the unidentified illness that has infected 585 people in the country so far.

As there is relatively nothing common among the hundreds of people who got infected, higher concerns are being raised as to what could be the cause of it.

The people who got infected for this illness tested negative for Covid-19 and other viral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and herpes and they don’t even live in the same area of the state. Nor are majority of them related to each other. As the age groups are different as well, mostly including children and few elders, the experts are cofounded as to what this illness is.

While several tests are still being conducted to figure out the exact cause of this unidentified illness, the Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s office informed that the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is also currently involved in running tests and that the results are awaited.

Over the weekend, more than 300 people in a city in southeastern India, Eluru in in the state of Andhra Pradesh reached the hospital asking for help from this mysterious illness.

They consisted of a wide range of symptoms including seizures, loss of consciousness and some nausea over the weekend, according to Dolla Joshi Roy, the district surveillance officer of Eluru’s West Godavari District.

However, Minister Reddy informed during a virtual meeting with experts that the hospital has discharged around 502 people with the illness as they had shown improvement in their conditions.

While the experts have found a possible cause for the unidentified illness, the country hopes to find the exact cause and solution for it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the officials await for the results of the remaining tests that are being conducted to figure out what caused this new illness and what can be done to prevent it.