Mysterious disease kills one; hundreds hospitalised in Andhra Pradesh

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Mysterious disease: A patient is being taken to a hospital in Andhra Pradesh.

A mysterious disease claimed one life while more than 400 people have been hospitalised in southern India’s Andhra Pradesh state. The unidentified infection that caused many to fall unconscious following seizures and nausea, a senior health department official said on Monday.

Government and medical authorities said that more than 200 people were discharged at the weekend. Tests had ruled out COVID-19, the infection caused by the novel coronavirus. Further serological tests are underway.

“The causes of the outbreak are not known yet,” the state government said in a statement. People in all age groups appeared prone to the mysterious infection, it said.

Separately, the Union health ministry said on Monday it would send a team of three medical experts to investigate the outbreak of the mysterious disease, which has infected more than 300 children.

“The children reportedly suffered from dizziness, fainting spells, headache and vomiting,” the ministry said. A door-to-door survey was also underway, it added.

The state health department was alerted to the first case over the weekend following the death of a 45-year old man, said Geeta Prasadini, a public health director in Andhra Pradesh.

“We have taken the patients’ blood samples for serological investigation and bacterial investigation to rule out any type of meningitis,” Prasadini told Reuters.

However, authorities were investigating water supplies at 20 locations within the city of Eluru where the outbreak was first reported as well as neighbouring areas, she added.

Andhra Pradesh is also among the worst-affected by COVID-19 in the country.

India, which has recorded 9.68 million COVID-19 infections, is just behind the United States in the global tally.

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