NEW DELHI – At least one person has died and 200 others have been hospitalized with an unidentified illness in southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, according to reports on Monday.
The disease was detected on Saturday evening in Eluru, an ancient town famous for its hand-woven products. Since then, patients have presented symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to loss of consciousness, doctors said.
A 45-year-old man hospitalized with symptoms similar to epilepsy and nausea died on Sunday evening, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Officials are trying to determine the cause of the disease. So far, water samples from the affected areas have shown no signs of contamination, and the chief minister’s office said people unrelated to the municipality’s water supply have also fallen ill. The patients are of different ages and have tested negative for COVID-19 and other viral illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya, or herpes.
A team of experts delegated by the federal government visited the city on Monday to investigate the sudden illness.
Chief State Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited a government hospital and met with sick patients. Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu demanded on Twitter for an “impartial and full investigation into the incident”.
The state of Andhra Pradesh is among the most affected by COVID-19, with more than 800,000 cases detected. The state’s healthcare system, like the rest of India, has been ravaged by the virus.