Mysterious sickness that causes “death-like” sleep

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Death-like sleep illness
Source: STANOKOVACIC/SHUTTERSTOCK

Kazakhstan villagers suffered from illness causing “death-like” sleep for years before the problem was isolated!

The residents of Kazakhstan lived with a mysterious illness that causes “death-like” sleep for over almost 3 years. Soon after the outbreak, villagers even considered relocating themselves, but they didn’t because of a fear of the illness spreading. Thereby leaving them susceptible to the illness that left villagers asleep for days. What’s more, doctors and researchers were yet to find a cure for the illness during the outbreak. Villagers began suffering from deep sleep that would last for several days to weeks.

According to a professor from Tomsk Polytechnic University, Leonid Rikhvanov, of the department of Geo-ecology and Geo-chemistry, “The disease is characterized by the fact that the sickness immerses himself in unusually long sleep, while to bring them into full consciousness is practically impossible on the first day.”

However, while asleep, they would sometimes walk around and appear conscious.

The first case of the illness was reported in March 2013. Symptoms of the illness are memory loss, hallucinations, dizziness and nausea. Some sufferers even experienced strokes. Every age group was affected by the illness. Children experienced seeing winged horses, their mothers suddenly having eight eyes, worms eating their hands and snakes crawling in their beds. A cat called Marquis was also affected, even though they are not susceptible to mass hysteria.

“He seemed to be foolish, throwing himself against the walls, cabinets, meowing,” Elena Zhavoronkova told Time.kz in 2015. “He tortured us until three in the morning. They took him out to the veranda, where there was a dog, so the Marquis began to rush at it.”

“Then he fell asleep in the morning and snored like a man until Saturday afternoon. He did not react to anything, not even to cat food. And when he came to, he was lethargic, could not even jump on a chair.”

For many years the illness remained a mystery.

Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, the uranium mines nearby were closed down. In the end it was established that the brains of the villagers were being deprived of oxygen. Although the uranium mines were closed, carbonmonoxide was still being exuded from the mines in smaller concentrations.

Carbonmonoxiide binds to haemoglobin, forming carboxyhemoglobin and leads to a much lower supply of oxygen to the brain. The villagers were immediately evacuated after finding the cause of the problem.

References

The Strange Sickness Of “Sleepy Hollow” That Struck Villagers In Kazakhstan https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-strange-sickness-of-sleepy-hollow-that-struck-villagers-in-kazakhstan/

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.

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