Researchers solve mysterious sleeping sickness in Kazakhstan
Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:15AM, Source
Researchers have solved the mystery of a strange sleeping sickness, which has been plaguing two towns in Kazakhstan since 2013.
“The cause of the disease... has been established. It's carbon monoxide,” RT quoted Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Berdybek Saparbayev in a Saturday report.
Since March 2013, around one out of ten inhabitants of the Kalachi and Krasnogorsky villages had been suffering from an undiagnosed onsets of sleepiness, nausea, and hallucinations.
“There used to be a uranium mine in the area, which is now closed. Occasionally, it released carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon [sic, presumably methane] in high concentrations... That is when these 'sleepy disease' outbreaks happened.”
Villagers had always believed the abandoned mine to be behind the sickness, although they thought it was related to radiation and not carbon monoxide.
According to Saparbayev, the Kazakh researchers’ solution has been confirmed by Russian and Czech scientists, and since the discovery, the villagers have been moved to safer locations.