A “mystery illness” is being investigated by health officials in India after hundreds of people were hospitalised over the weekend.
Authorities first noticed the illnesses on Saturday, when 45 people who lived in different areas presented at hospitals and clinics suffering from the strange symptoms.
Patients were hospitalised after experiencing symptoms including nausea and vomiting while some suffered seizures and burning eyes.
Doctors said a number of hospital beds have been made available in Eluru in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India’s south east in case the unknown disease affects more people, according to the BBC.
At this stage some 300 people have been hospitalised throughout the weekend, and one person has died, according to The Times Of India.
It comes as India is struggling through its own coronavirus crisis, recording more than 36,000 new cases on Saturday. However, the various patients suffering the mystery illness were all tested for COVID-19 and returned negative tests.
“The people who fell sick, especially the children, suddenly started vomiting after complaining of burning eyes,” a medical officer from the Eluru Government Hospital told The Indian Express. “Some of them fainted or suffered bouts of seizures.”
Many of the patients admitted to hospital were later discharged.
Blood samples taken from the patients didn’t indicate a viral infection, according to the state’s Health Minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas.
“We ruled out water contamination or air pollution as the cause after officials visited the areas where people fell sick,” he said. “It is some mystery illness and only lab analysis will reveal what it is.”
The Opposition party, Telugu Desam Party, accused the government of being “caught napping” during a health emergency and demanded an inquiry into the situation.
The party suggested a water contamination could be behind the mystery illness.