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Mysterious disease in India: heavy metals found in the blood of patients

A total of 555 people have been admitted to hospitals since Saturday, including 80 on Tuesday, a hospital source said. A hospital has reserved 100 beds for victims of the mysterious disease, but most have been able to return to their homes.

DHeavy metals such as lead and nickel were found in the blood of victims of a mysterious disease that emerged in a southern Indian town on Saturday, affecting more than 500 people, authorities said on Tuesday.

The government dispatched a medical team made up of experts from the National Institute of Virology, the National Center for Disease Control and the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences to Eluru, Andhra Pradesh state to investigate on this disease which appeared last Saturday. A man died after experiencing seizures, nausea and pain.

A total of 555 people have been admitted to hospitals since Saturday, including 80 on Tuesday, a hospital source said. A hospital has reserved 100 beds for victims of the mysterious disease, but most have been able to return to their homes.

Blood samples taken from ten people revealed high levels of lead and nickel, Eluru hospital director AV Mohan said.

The authorities of the State of Andhra Pradesh have ordered an investigation into the origin of the presence of these heavy metals in the body of patients. However, said Mohan, samples are too few to say with certainty that lead and nickel caused the disease which has spread to the city of 200,000 people.

There are no major factories in the area, and water tests and even milk drinks have been done. Experts also collected samples of rice and cooking oil, as well as urine samples, for analysis, with some local officials hinting at the possible role of chemical additives in pesticides.

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