Experts at AIIMS and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) have found the reason behind the mysterious disease that has gripped Andhra Pradesh's Eluru city. Of total 612 people who were hospitalised, 605 have been discharged. One person succumbed to the illness.
Experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS-Delhi), ICT, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), and other research organisations confirmed the presence of pesticide residues, organochlorine, lead, and nickel in milk and vegetables as the reasons behind the illness.
As per reports submitted to the government by these institutions, pesticides and herbicides were found in more than permissible limits in vegetables. Additionally, scientists at the NIN found traces of mercury in rice and residues of organophosphorous in blood. It said it has to be studied how they entered the humans.
A study of water, conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, revealed no presence of heavy metal in water. The Institute of Preventive Medicine found no heavy metal in milk.
Reports related to the analysis of meat and fish were yet to come, according to state Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar.
After going through the reports, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked the experts to trace out how lead, nickel, organochlorine and organophosphorous entered humans.
The CM asked the AIIMS, New Delhi, and IICT, Hyderabad, to constantly monitor the situation in Eluru, conduct an in-depth analysis and suggest remedial measures.
The Chief Minister said indiscriminate use of pesticides and unauthorised insecticides should be stopped. "Take this programme up for a month. Educate farmers on organic farming and use of permitted pesticides. This way we can prevent contamination of food items," he said.
Meanwhile, the state government constituted a 21-member multi-disciplinary committee, headed by Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, to probe the source of the infection thoroughly, examine the causes and suggest remedial measures to prevent the occurrence of such events in future.
The government directed the committee to submit a comprehensive report with a detailed action plan to avert such incidences in future.