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Lead likely caused India sickness: experts

Excess amounts of lead and nickel in food or drinking water may have caused a mysterious illness in southern India which left more than 500 people suffering from fits and nausea, officials say.

The preliminary findings by medical experts suggested that these metals could have been responsible for the illness that resulted in many people falling unconscious in the town of Eluru on Saturday, a statement from the Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s office said.

“More tests are being conducted by (the) Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and other institutes and the results are expected soon,” the release said.

Of the 505 people affected, 370 had recovered and the others were under treatment at hospitals, said Himanshu Shukla, a local administration official in Eluru.

It was not yet clear what had led to the high lead and nickel content in the patients’ blood samples and investigations were continuing, Shukla said.

A special sanitation drive including testing of water sources was being conducted in Eluru and surrounding rural areas where a bulk of the cases occurred, Shukla said.

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