Doctors in a northern Indian state are struggling to identify a mystery disease that has killed more than 50 people over the past two weeks. The suspected virus strikes mostly children and older people who suffer from high fever, vomiting and headaches, eventually leading to death. SP Ram, a top medical official in Uttar Pradesh state, said Thursday, "We are not able to identify the killing virus. It can be a mutant form of dengue or malaria. We are not sure." Ram said microbiologists are trying to pinpoint the exact cause of the deaths. In the state capital, Lucknow, nearly 340 people have been affected by the disease.
Mystery illness killing Indian crocodiles
Three decades after it was brought back from the brink of extinction, the rare Indian crocodile known as the gharial is turning up dead by the dozens on the banks of a river called the Chambal. Forest officials are at a loss to explain why.
Since mid-December, the National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary has confirmed 76 deaths along the river, which begins in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and runs through Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Poliomyelitis, a contagious viral disease that once crippled and killed thousands of children annually, has been eliminated in most of the Western world thanks to a vaccine invented by Jonas Salk in the 1950s, but it still survives in some of the world's poorest countries. India seemed to be on the verge of eliminating polio last year, when it reported just 66 cases of the disease, down from 1600 in 2002. This year, however, things have gone horribly wrong with India's polio elimination campaign; 325 cases have been reported already, and at least 23 of them have been fatal. What's caught people's attention is that 70% of those infected with polio this year are Muslim, even though Muslims account for only 13% of India's population. What's even stranger, and frightening, is the reason: some Muslims believe that the polio drops are part of a conspiracy to sterilize their children, and are refusing to let them be vaccinated.
so the crocodile connection is a a boondoggle?
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
“We cannot give the exact reason for the deaths, but it could be due to unhygienic living conditions in Khadra,” said A.K. Shukla, Lucknow’s chief medical officer. Khadra is home to upwards of 250,000 people and the entrance to the neighborhood consists of heaps of rotting garbage, fetid, stagnant water, open sewer drains, and many people do not have indoor toilets, so human waste also contributes. The water source for the people is located near an open drain, and supplies a dark brackish water, and is where many people get their water for drinking, cooking and bathing. “We are living in hell. We drink muddy water and live in a neighborhood full of filth and dirt,” said Kamla Maheshwari, a housewife, as she waited for her turn at the community tap.