Organochlorine substances suspected to have triggered mystery disease in Andhra

Organochlorine substances suspected to have triggered mystery disease in Andhra

Eluru (AP): With a mystery disease here baffling health experts and the government alike, preliminary analysis of various test reports have almost established the role of organochlorine substances in the infection that has left one dead and over 450 infected since Saturday. Multiple teams of experts from premier scientific institutions of the country are on to the job to determine the exact cause of the disease in Eluru city of Andhra Pradesh.

Organochlorine pesticides are chlorinated hydrocarbons used in agriculture and mosquito control. The compounds include DDT that is widely used in anti-mosquito fogging.

"Mostly yes, but we are waiting for the laboratory report (for confirmation)," a top official of the Medical and Health Department said here on Monday, when asked about organochlorine being the disease-triggering agent.

BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao, after talking to experts at the AIIMS, New Delhi, was the first to suspect that poisonous organochlorine substances could be the most likely cause of the mysterious disease.

With water contamination ruled out as the cause of the disease spread, and also other tests turning out normal, the medical teams are now focusing on other chemical agents that could have led to the outbreak.

Teams of experts from the National Institute of Nutrition and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad reached Eluru on Monday and collected various samples for analysis.

Water and milk samples were also sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad for analysis of heavy metal content, sources in the Medical and Health Department said.

With all the incoming patients turning negative for coronavirus, the authorities have heaved a sigh of relief.

On the request of the state government, a team of experts from the World Health Organisation in New Delhi, as well as another team drafted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be arriving in Eluru on Tuesday "on an urgent visit" for a study and possibly determine the cause of the mysterious disease.

A team from the Indian Council of Medical Research is also expected.

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