Mystery illness in India: Nickel found in milk samples

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

Andhra Pradesh, India – Scientists have found nickel in the samples of milk that were taken from the area of India where the mystery illness was found and has infected over 600 people.

While the mysterious illness consisted of a wide range of symptoms including seizures, loss of consciousness and nausea for some people, 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.

Although the source of lead in blood samples is still not confirmed yet, a scientist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) revealed that they found nickel from the milk samples that were collected from that certain area.

Presence of nickel in the milk samples is something which is warning us. It should not be present in the milk samples. It’s alarming

Avr Mohan, the medical superintendent of District Hospital Eluru stated.

While the scientists have found out that nickel was present in the milk samples, they are still unaware of how and why the metal was present in the milk samples.

It must be somewhere in the grass or something that the cattle are consuming

Avr Mohan, the medical superintendent of District Hospital Eluru stated.

While the exact cause for the unidentified illness has still not been confirmed yet, experts at AIIMS, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and other reputed institutions stated that residues of pesticides may be the reason behind this newly found illness.

From several food sample that were taken to identify the cause of the illness, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) stated that pesticides were found in food items including meat, chicken, fish, shrimp and in some other vegetables as well.

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

While the number has since then increased to over 600 infected people, authorities said that all of the patients have been discharged as they appeared to be better and that since Sunday, the had recorded no new cases for this new illness.

While almost all of the people had possibly recovered from the illness, authorities informed that three people with symptoms for the mystery illness had passed away. However, the local health officials noted that the cause of their death was unrelated to the newly found illness in India.

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.

Along with this, the hundreds of people who got infected had relatively nothing common, this is why concerns have been raised as to what could be the cause of it. Although the authorities are aware that the heavy metals lead and nickel are possibly the causes of this illness, they are yet to confirm this statement after finding the exact cause and solution for it.