Exposure to the heavy metal from spice powders and car batteries is affecting child health across the subcontinent
An outbreak of a mystery illness over two days in early December in the south Indian city of Eluru saw more than 560 people hospitalised, most of them children, and baffled doctors. Symptoms were described as being similar to epilepsy, with convulsions and vomiting accompanied by burning eyes and loss of consciousness.
Recovery tended to be quick although the death of one man was attributed to the illness. In the midst of the Covid pandemic theories circulated that it was caused by too much disinfectant or vegetables washed in chlorine. Local traders saw sales slump.