Report of the multi-disciplinary committee on the sudden convulsions of unknown origin in Eluru, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, 31/03/2021

  • 31/03/2021

Report of the multi-disciplinary committee on the sudden convulsions of unknown origin in Eluru, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, 31/03/2021.

On December 5, 2020 a number of cases were reported at District Hospital, Eluru with symptoms of convulsions and loss of consciousness who had no previous history of seizures or other neurological conditions, fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, head injury or trauma. Convulsions of unknown etiology were reported with sudden onset affecting all age groups with no previous history of illness. The disease is mild in nature, non-communicable lasting for 15-30 minutes.

Emergency Response and Preparedness:

In all 62 wards and 22 village secretariats in Eluru constituency, active surveillance was conducted.24/7 paramedical teams were deployed to conduct house to house survey. Super sanitation activities like removal of old debris and silt from drains, fogging and spraying, chlorination tests, leakage identification and correction, removal of old pipes passing through culverts, disconnection of hand bores which are connected to municipal supply head water works was done. Chlorination was done in all the affected and unaffected areas of the Municipal Corporation.

Since, the etiology of the outbreak was not known; all major and renowned agencies in the country were reached out by the Government and were actively involved. Thirteen agencies/ laboratories/institutions were involved including the:

  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalagiri
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad
  • Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and others.

On December 10, 2020 the government constituted a multidisciplinary committee to investigate the source of the infection, to rule-out various causes of the incident and to suggest remedial measures to prevent any occurrence of such events in future in the state.

The report concluded that on the whole there was no bacterial/ viral cause of the episode. Overall the water and air samples tested subsequently have been found to be within prescribed norms and there might have been a one-time presence of organo-chloride which could have triggered the episode. According to the experts, toxins are likely to be the most probable cause of this outbreak. Among the toxins, the pesticides are most likely to present similar encephalopathy. Among pesticides also, organo-chlorides are most likely to be the cause of the outbreak.