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At least one person has died and more than 200 others have been hospitalized due to a mystery illness in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, according to reports.
The unidentified illness was detected late Saturday in Eluru, an ancient city famous for its hand-woven products, where patients have experienced symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to loss of consciousness, according to doctors.
A 45-year-old man hospitalized with symptoms similar to epilepsy who also suffered from nausea died Sunday evening, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Officials are investigating the cause of the illness, which has swept through Eluru as India continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, with the world’s second-highest caseload, according to the BBC.
Andhra Pradesh has been one of the worst-affected states, with more than 800,000 cases, the country’s third-highest, the outlet reported.
State Health Minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas said that all the patients with the mystery ailment had tested negative for COVID-19.
He added that the patients’ blood samples did not reveal any evidence of a viral infection.
“We ruled out water contamination or air pollution as the cause after officials visited the areas where people fell sick,” he said. “It is some mystery illness and only lab analysis will reveal what it is.”
An official at Eluru Government Hospital told The Indian Express newspaper: “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,” the official added.
Seventy people have been released, while 157 others are still being treated, officials said.
Jaganmohan Reddy, the state’s chief minister, said that medical experts were being sent to Eluru to investigate the cause of the illness, the BBC reported.
With Post wires