India: Pesticides suspected cause of recent epidemic of death & kidney failure in Andhra village Print E-mail
 Tuesday October 31 2006
Andhra Pradesh - Nellore

Outbreak of kidney ailments stumps medical experts

Staff Reporter
32 villagers with chronic renal failure admitted to hospital NICD team to look into role of pesticide residuals

NELLORE: Cases of kidney ailments in Usapalli village of Podalkur mandal is puzzling medical experts. Eight persons have died while hundreds of villagers have been suffering from the ailments for the last few months.

As many as 32 villagers with chronic renal failure were admitted to District Government Hospital on October 14. Alarmed over the outbreak, villagers took up the issue with Rapur MLA Anam Ramnarayana Reddy and Zilla Parishad Chairperson Kakani Goverdhan Reddy who, in turn, brought the issue to the notice of Union Minister of State for Health Panabaka Lakshmi.

The Minister rushed a team from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) which visited the village on October 17 to analyse the cause. A team led by Deputy Director of the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) B. Nagaraju of Chennai collected samples of drinking water and soil in the fields as well as blood and urine samples from the affected persons for testing, besides conducting various tests on patients.

Use of chemicals
Some team members observed that consuming farm products by excessive use of chemicals and contaminated water might have led to the outbreak. "The team will submit a report to the Government and recommend the necessary treatment," the Minister said.

An environmental research team, comprising experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), visited Kaligiri, Kota and Usapalli on Saturday and Sunday. The team examined patients and collected water samples.

However, results of the tests ruled out the possibility of fluorosis. The preliminary tests pointed out that there was no problem with the water as it had only 0.98 ppm of chlorine, the team observed.

"We will investigate further to examine the role of pesticide residuals as well as painkillers, which have been consumed beyond the prescribed limits by affected persons, besides other factors," Joint Director of NICD R.S. Gupta said.