Twelve taken ill after consuming ‘coronavirus shaped’ datura seeds

They reportedly saw a video on social media that it will build immunity against COVID-19

April 07, 2020 09:04 pm | Updated 09:04 pm IST - CHITTOOR

Twelve persons, including five children, were taken ill after they consumed a liquor made of toxic seeds of datura (Ummetta plant in local parlance), which resembles the shape of COVID-19 virus, believing that it will protect them from COVID-19, at Alla Kottur village of Baireddipalle mandal, 80 km from here, on Tuesday.

According to information, a youth, who reportedly watched a video on social media which suggested that datura seeds could act as a deterrent to the virus, especially for the elderly and children, allegedly encouraged some families to follow the tip. The seeds were collected from the nearby tank bund on Monday evening. After crushing the seeds, it was mixed with some oils used in Ayurveda. The “drug” was administered to the interested families before breakfast on Tuesday.

Close to noon, 12 who developed vomiting and giddiness were rushed to the primary health centres at Baireddipalle and Theertham. Medical Officers Veera Narayana Swamy and M. Siva Pratap administered them first aid and shifted them to the Government Area Hospital at Palamaner.

“Some of those showed signs of giddiness and vomiting. We were informed that they had consumed datura seeds after watching a video on social media. The seeds are toxic and will have undesirable impact on the nervous and metabolic systems. We immediately shifted them to Palamaner and kept all under two-day observation. After taking them to Palamaner, some of the patients showed signs of inebriation,” Dr. Siva Pratap said.

The medical officer said the villagers were carried away by the false information that datura seeds, which resemble the shape of coronavirus as being shown in the media, would miraculously improve immunity among the elderly and children against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a team of COVID-19 Task Force rushed to the village and took up an awareness campaign among the residents against consuming toxic seeds. The Baireddipalle police visited the village and spoke to the family members of those who were taken ill.

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