Africa’s walking dead: Mystery of horrific ‘nodding’ disease that turns children into zombies

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120903/Mystery-nodding-disease-turning-children-zombies-Uganda.html

  • Illness has baffled experts from the World Health Organisation

By Suzannah Hills
UPDATED: 08:12 EST, 27 March 2012

A mystery disease is turning an increasing number of children in east Africa into zombies.

The condition, known by locals as the ‘nodding disease’, drastically alters children’s personalities by making them withdrawn and confused.

One of the first symptoms of the illness, affecting children in northern Uganda, Sudan and Tanzania, is that children appear to be falling asleep – their eyes close and head droops, even though they may not be tired.

Many children suffering from the nodding disease die from malnutrition because they won't eatMany children suffering from the nodding disease die from malnutrition because they won’t eat

Children suffering from the condition are withdrawn and have no interest in eatingChildren suffering from the condition are withdrawn and have no interest in eating

The condition gets progressively worse and can cause affected children, generally aged between five and 15, to fall and injure themselves

Many die by losing consciousness and have horrific accidents, like falling into a cooking fire or drowning.

Other symptoms include losing cognitive ability and experiencing stunted growth.

Some suffer epilepsy-like seizures and struggle to eat – becoming shells of their former selves.

Others die of infections because they are weak or malnourished.

Some children with nodding disease are abandoned by their families because they are too difficult to look afterSome children with nodding disease are abandoned by their families because they are too difficult to look after

 

In northern Uganda alone, 3,000 children have the illness, but numerous cases have also been reported in Sudan and TanzaniaIn northern Uganda alone, 3,000 children have the illness, but numerous cases have also been reported in Sudan and Tanzania

One mother in northern Uganda, Grace Lagat, where 3,000 children have the illness, told CNN how her two children have been affected by the nodding disease.

She said they suffer from seizures and after each attack are less like the children she remembers.

Speaking about her 13-year-old daughter Pauline, she told CNN: ‘Her personality has changed greatly from before.

‘She was normal when she was born. Now she just moves around and serves no purpose.’

The seizures are triggered in strange ways, say community members, such as when unfamiliar food is brought to the children or when the weather changes.

Pauline Oto, who has the nodding disease, still wears her faded yellow and green school dress but hasn't been to school for years because she can no longer write or understand what goes on in her lessonsPauline Oto, who has the nodding disease, still wears her faded yellow and green school dress but hasn’t been to school for years because she can no longer write or understand what goes on in her lessons

Grace Lagat, from northern Uganda, is forced to tie her two children up whenever she leaves her home to stop them wandering offGrace Lagat, from northern Uganda, is forced to tie her two children up whenever she leaves her home to stop them wandering off

There are other bizarre symptoms with the children often wandering off by themselves and getting lost in the bush.

Other children have started fires, according to parents and medics in the field, while some appear confused and traumatized.

Lagat now has to tie up her children when she leaves the house to stop them from disappearing.

She told the TV station:’When I am going to the garden, I tie them with cloth.

‘If I don’t tie them I come back and find that they have disappeared.’

Parents have reported their children suffer seizures and are more withdrawn after each episode Parents have reported their children suffer seizures and are more withdrawn after each episode

 

Medical experts by confounded by the condition and there is still no known cause or cure Medical experts by confounded by the condition and there is still no known cause or cure

The condition first came to the attention of Ugandan authorities in 2009 and has confounded officials with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Saweka and the Ugandan government mobilized teams from WHO, CDC, and local health teams but there is still no known cause or cure for the disease.

Doctors are using drugs for controlling epilepsy with some limited success but they say it only slows the progression of symptoms.

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Posted on March 27, 2012, in Health / Medicine, Miscellaneous, Science / Technology, Unexplainable Phenomena and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sounds horribly similar to the side effects being reported by some people who’ve come into contact with the swine flu vaccine and the Gardasil 3 stage cancer vaccine for teenage girls that has left thousands of healthy teenage girls with narcolepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even a few in coma-like conditions. It appears to be some kind of disruption of the victims central nervous system, causing loss of awareness and bodily control. Avoid new “super” vaccines at all costs if you can. Don’t let the fear they instill in us push you towards shortsighted and ill-informed decisions.

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