By ChicaMod Editor
A mysterious neurological syndrome is spreading through parts of Uganda, leaving hundreds dead and thousands more convulsing and devastated. The disease is known simply as the nodding disease due to the nervous spasms it inflicts in its victims. It hunts its prey among young children. More than 3,000 children suffer from this debilitating disease, and hundreds more have lost their lives to it.
The disease is characterized by seizures and convulsions, wasted limbs, mental disability, stunted growth, and in some cases, starvation. Scientists are prodding, trying to crack the mystery as to why the disease only affects children. More importantly, they are trying to figure out what exactly this disease is. Hopefully, questions of 'what' will lead to answers of 'how' and 'why'; how is the disease transmitted? Why does it affect only specific populations? Why is the outbreak occurring now and not before? Is it a new disease? How can it be cured?
As scientists try to uncover the mystery, lawmakers put pressure on the government to stop being passive on the matter. As a result, the Ministry of Health put in place an emergency response plan to identify and control the disease.
Meanwhile, health workers and volunteers are doing their best to ameliorate the suffering. However, their efforts mainly involve beating about in the dark. They administer epilepsy medication although they know for sure that the disease is not epilepsy.
The Northern parts of Uganda is among the places the disease has ravaged. Locals are now fleeing with their families, terrified that if they stay, the disease will knock at their doorsteps next. The situation is so dire that villagers now say that the children who have died are the ones who have been cured from the disease. Only death affords rest from this painful illness.
Photo Credits: ScrapeTV