India investigates mystery illness that has hospitalised 400

The suspected substance is used in some pesticides and mosquito control measures.

Andrew Koay | December 08, 2020, 05:04 PM

Substances potentially used in pesticides or mosquito control could be the cause of a mystery illness which has hospitalised more than 450 people and killed an individual in India.

According to Reuters, Indian lawmaker GVL Narasimha Rao, who hails from the state of Andhra Pradesh where the illness struck, said that the “most likely cause is poisonous organochlorine substances" citing government medical experts.

The illness has seen patients suffering from dizziness, fainting spells, headache and vomiting. Over 300 children have been infected, while a 45-year-old man died over the weekend.

The Guardian reported that all patients were tested for Covid-19 and returned negative results.

Andhra Pradesh's healthcare system has already been stressed by over 800,000 active Covid-19 cases.

Reuters quoted Geeta Prasadini, a public health director in the state, as saying officials were waiting on test reports to ascertain if organochlorines are indeed behind the mystery illness.

She also confirmed that no new cases of the mystery illness had been discovered.

The poisonous substance is banned and restricted in various countries due to studies linking them to cancer and other potential health risks.

According to Reuters, while it is not clear how extensively the organochlorines were used in India, though it has been found in mosquito control measures.

Exposure to organochlorine pesticides over a short period may produce convulsions, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, confusion, muscle weakness, slurred speech, salivation and sweating.

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Top photo by Noah Seelam/AFP via Getty Images