India’s Mystery Illness

District govt hospital , Elooru, Andhra, Sunday, Dec.6


District govt hospital , Elooru, Andhra, Sunday, Dec.6

Nathan Kim

More than 500 have been infected with a new illness in Andhra Pradesh in the previous week, and experts have no idea what is causing the infections. The first case was reported on December 5, 2020, and by the following day more than a hundred more were admitted into hospitals.

Symptoms of the illness are similar to epilepsy, and also include nausea, memory loss, anxiety, dizziness, loss of consciousness, vomiting, headache, burning eyes, and back pain. Strangely, “the people who fell sick, especially the children, suddenly started vomiting after complaining of burning eyes,” an Eluru Government Hospital medical officer told the Indian Express. “Some of them fainted or suffered bouts of seizures.”

Of those who were infected, the majority is children, while there are very few elderly cases. However, the illness affects all age groups and is not subject to just one. By the night of December 7th, 2020, more than 400 people were admitted into hospitals. New cases died down quite quickly though, with only two to four cases being reported in the following days. On the 12th of December no new cases were recorded, and fortunately, only one death was recorded.

With all the new cases emerging and old cases being resolved, one question still remains, what is the cause? Experts are lost as there are no common links between any of the hundreds of people who were infected. Some theories such as contaminated water, heavy metal poisoning, food contamination by pesticides, and E.coli have been tested. So far no theory has been confirmed.

Even though many people were admitted into hospitals, almost all were released in the matter of days. The illness has also not spurred any more serious buzz past December 12th, and it seems to have died down. But with the cause being unknown, anything could happen in the following days.