Hundreds stricken with ‘mystery illness’ show frightening symptoms
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  • A strange, unexplained illness is making people sick in India, with hundreds already experiencing a range of severe symptoms.
  • Viral tests were negative, and tests of the air and water in the region were reportedly normal, but some believe the water supply may still be to blame.
  • One person has died and nearly 350 others have fallen ill.

The coronavirus pandemic has everyone on edge, and that includes health officials the world over. So, when hundreds of people started to become seriously ill in Eluru, India, and doctors couldn’t find a cause, paranoia grew rapidly. As the Indian Express and Hindustan Times report, over 300 people have fallen ill with what is only being described as a “mysterious illness” that produces a variety of serious symptoms but has no clear cause.

As of the latest report, 345 people are thought to have contracted the strange sickness. Symptoms include seizures and vomiting as well as more disturbing symptoms like frothing at the mouth and “giddiness,” which sounds absolutely frightening.


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When large numbers of citizens began getting sick, officials thought there might have been an issue with the air or water quality. A disease that makes its way into the water supply can spread rapidly if not detected early on, and airborne illnesses often infect many before anyone even knows it’s a problem. However, testing revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

“We ruled out water contamination or air pollution as the cause after officials visited the areas where people fell sick. Water samples were sent for testing and no contamination was found. Blood samples of the patients have been sent to labs. No viral infection has been detected. All the patients are COVID-19 negative. It is some mystery illness and only lab analysis will reveal what it is,” Health Minister A Kali Srinivas told Indian Express.

In the meantime, hundreds of people are still ill and at least one man has died, with doctors suspecting the mystery illness as the cause. The 45-year-old man didn’t have any obvious cause of death, but his body was reportedly secured so an autopsy could be conducted. It’s unclear if that autopsy revealed anything promising as officials try to figure out what the illness actually is.

Despite tests of the water supply coming back normal, at least one politician has voiced concern that the illness is indeed being spread through the water system. That man, N Chandrababu Naidu, asked that possible contamination of the water supply be investigated more closely.

The small bit of good news is that viral tests came back negative in individuals that are presenting with symptoms matching this mysterious illness. It appears we don’t have another COVID-19 on our hands, but that’s of little comfort to those in the region that have no idea how to avoid getting sick with whatever it is that is making people ill. Hopefully, doctors can figure this out quickly.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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