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No Grimm Brother's Tale: Sleep syndrome in Akmola Oblast

05 february 2014, 16:28
1
© Marat Abilov
© Marat Abilov
A still frame from KTK TV video
A still frame from KTK TV video
There was no poisoned apple or evil queen. It is certainly not a Brothers Grimm’s fairy tail, but a reality of Kalachi village in Akmola Region where people have started falling asleep for no obvious reason.

The first cases of sleep syndrome took place in March and April of 2013 when around 10 local residents came to the clinic with similar symptoms. The ages differed from 14 to 70, but all of them suffered from drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, loss of coordination and partial loss of memory. Later in January 2014 more residents of the village complained about sleepiness.

The Head Doctor of the Yesil District Hospital Kabdrashit Almagambetov said that there were seven patients, including two children, receiving medical treatment at the hospital. “The symptoms are weakness, drowsiness, numbness, lethargy and disorientation. They sleep for 2 days straight. We are conducting a treatment of excessive sleepiness to improve brain nutrition and cerebral circulation,” said Dr. Almagambetov.

No one knows what causes the sleep syndrome. The Disease Control and Prevention Center of Kazakhstan took samples of air, soil and water to test for all possible viruses, but they returned clear. Radiation background of the village and the surrounding territories was also measured. The results did not give any answers. Nothing abnormal was detected.

The blood tests did not give any results either. And the psychologists and psychiatrists who examined the patients did not find any psychological disorders.

Some locals believe that the depleted abandoned uranium mines not far from the village are the cause, or so-called “the poisoned apple” that caused the sleep syndrome.

The only pattern that has been identified is that syndrome strikes the Kalachi village in times when the outside temperature surges upwards in a sharp spike.

Doctors do not believe that the strange illness has any connection with the abandoned uranium production. “The patients from the Kalachi village are those who were working in the village (not in the mines) and have never come in contact with the uranium mines. While the residents of the Krasnogorsk village who did work in the mines before have never showed these symptoms and have not turned to us,” the perplexed doctor said.

It may look a fairy tail, but it is certainly is a nightmare for the parents as they are afraid to let their children go to school. The symptoms are sudden and there is not way to predict when and who the sleep syndrome is going to strike next.

“The first one was a 9th grade student who fell asleep, you know he started having hallucinations (…) Some of the symptoms resembled a stroke, but it was not a stroke. Several adults and two children were in the intensive care with continues hallucinations,” a local resident Nadezhda Yakimova said.

The mystery of the sleep syndrome is yet to be solved. Hopefully, the doctors will find a solution for the syndrome to awaken the residents from their slumber and end their fears soon.


By Gyuzel Kamalova

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