One person died and 22 others fell sick after consuming suspected ‘local alcohol’ in three villages of Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district.
“There were 22 cases reported. The complaint basically is swelling in the leg, pain in the stomach, and reddishness in the eyes. There was no other symptom. By the time this came to us, one person died,” Visakhapatnam District Collector V. Vinay Chand told IANS.
Chinaraba, Kotaparthy and Kakaravalasa are the three villages where the sickness afflicted the unsuspecting tribals.
Chinaraba has a population of 248, Koaparthy 95 and Kakaravalasa 125. Most of the ailing tribals are in their 30s and 40s.
Kakaravalasa is 52 km north west of Vishakhapatnam.
All the 22 who fell sick, were shifted to the King George Hospital (KGH) in Visakhapatnam for treatment.
Though the health department conducted a medical camp in the tribal village, they did not improve, necessitating them to be shifted to KGH.
“The condition of all of them is stable and they are being continuously monitored. They have all been tested for Covid, they have all turned negative,” said Chand.
The health department has collected more blood samples from the tribals for further testing, those results are expected in a day.
Chand said the tribals were also diagnosed with malnourishment.
Though the reason for the tribals’ ailment hasn’t been established, officials are suspecting the consumption of local alcohol.
“It is suspected that there was some consumption of liquor. The tribals normally consume locally available liquor. However, this is yet to be confirmed,” the Collector clarified.
According to Chand, tribals were known to be consuming various types of locally available alcohol, however, he said if that liquor was contaminated or illicit is not clear.
“There are a lot of stories going around, I’m not really sure until we get more information and I cannot confirm or negate anything. Probable reason was any consumption of locally available toddy, but that is also subject to confirmation,” the officer observed.
The medical camp will continue for the next 7 – 10 days in the tribal villages. Medical staff are educating the tribals on personal hygiene, washing hands and drinking warm water.
They were also advised on coronavirus, told to refrain from consuming stored meat and also explained the adverse effects of alcohol.