Home News AIIMS, IICT rule in pesticides for Eluru mysterious disease

AIIMS, IICT rule in pesticides for Eluru mysterious disease

A patient is assisted by others to get down from an ambulance at the district government hospital in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh state, India. (AP)

VIJAYAWADA:  Pesticides could be a reason for outbreak of the mysterious disease in Eluru. This emerged during a video conference Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had with experts from various fields. Incidentally, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and other reputed institutions have confirmed that residues of pesticides could be the reason for such an outbreak.

The Chief Minister wanted all types of tests conducted at other places in the state, so that incidents like Eluru do not repeat. He asked officials to focus on proper maintenance of yards, where pesticides and other chemicals are stored all across West Godavari and other districts. He instructed that drinking water samples from each source in all districts of the state be tested. He asked Chief Secretary Neelam Sawhney to prepare an action plan for the same.


In this context, Jagan Mohan Reddy said, “Awareness about organic farming should be encouraged through Rythu Bharosa Kendras. Agriculture Department should focus on ordering withdrawal of harmful pesticides from the market. Public health labs should be strengthened in every district, samples tested regularly and necessary measures taken accordingly.

Incidentally, AIIMS, New Delhi, reported that lead has been detected in blood of patients, apart from nickel in all milk samples. AIIMS doctors said organochlorine was the reason for illness in patients and pesticides could be the reason for their presence. Organochlorine would have entered the human body through the food cycle. They, however, said a long-term study is needed on these aspects. The exact reason for the “mystery” illness would be known after analysing samples of food, drinking water and vegetables for a few months.


IICT experts said 21 samples of water have been collected along with blood samples of people and animals. No traces of heavy metals like lead, nickel and arsenic were found in water samples as well as pesticides. Endosulfan and DDD were traced in blood samples. Lead was found in some of the blood samples. There were, however, no traces of organophosphates, they stated.

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Hyderabad, also conducted tests on the air pollution in Eluru. Its experts said pollution within the Eluru atmosphere is within permissible limits. They have tested underground and surface waters and found that all metals are within permissible limits except mercury. They said samples of soil are being tested.


Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, said no bacteria or virus has been found in the samples. National Institute of Virology, Pune, reported that no evidence has been found to prove any viral infection. National Institution of Nutrition, Hyderabad, stated that residues of pesticides have been found in samples of tomato and brinjal and these could be the reason for the illness.

Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Ashish, said the focus should be on finding how residues of pesticides could enter the human body. The committee constituted by the government should work on this aspect, he emphasised.


Deputy Chief Minister Alla Krishna Srinivas, West Godavari district collector Mutyalaraju participated in the video conference from Eluru. Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, chief secretary Neelam Sawhney, special chief secretary Poonam Malakondaiah, principal secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal, health commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar and other officials attended the meeting.

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