Several media outlets, including CNN, are reporting a continued outbreak of what has come to be know as Nodding Disease in Northern Uganda. The symptoms vary, and often are progressive in manifestation. According to CNN:
Nodding disease gets its name from the strange nodding-like symptoms that children display in the first stages of a seizure. But doctors on the ground and at the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that is the least profound effect.
Severe epilepsy-like seizures grip the children, they struggle to eat, and they become shells of their former selves. It is a progressive and debilitating syndrome that robs children of their future.
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.
There are other bizarre symptoms. Often the children will wander off by themselves and get lost in the bush. And other children will start fires, according to parents and medics in the field. Others appear confused and traumatized.
While Nodding Disease is not new and has been known about since the 1960s, there is currently no known cure nor do experts know what actually causes it. Daily Tech reports”
Yet the WHO and CDC are not fully sure what is causing the illness, which cripples children and turns them into mindless, violence-prone zombies. The best clue they have is that most of the cases occur in regions inhabited by “Black flies”, which carry the parasitic worm Onchocerca Volvulus. That worm is responsible for another dangerous disease dubbed “river blindness”, the world’s second leading cause of infectious blindness.
Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence of that being the cause and the disease remains a mystery. Tanzania and Sudan also report cases of Nodding Disease and with no known cause or cure, it is difficult to speculate on whether or not it will spread further.