Originally published March 31 2015
Kazakhstan town plagued by mysterious illness that causes residents to fall unconscious for days
by Sandy J. Duncan
(NaturalNews) A small village in Kazakhstan may be closed down entirely as early as this May after 117 people living in Kalachi fell into a deep sleep for days at a time and awoke with mild amnesia.
The victims report falling asleep with no warning, even as they are walking along, and then waking up remembering nothing of the incident.
The first case of the bizarre sleeping sickness was reported in early 2010, but the incidents have been steadily increasing since March 2013. A number of children have been affected by strong hallucinations, and many residents have suffered the sleeping illness multiple times and have even remained unconscious for up to five days at a time. The mysterious illness is said to have affected nearly one-fourth of the residents of the tiny village of almost 600 residents.
Victims speak outAmong the affected victims is Olga Samusenko, a young mother with two small children. She told a reporter for The Siberian Times: "We need to escape now, there is no future for us here. Everyone is leaving. Many people have sent their children to relatives in other cities and villages. ... We still do not know what's going on. My children have not been outside since September. I am afraid to let them out."
"We were at the parade of schoolchildren on September 1. My children are small, so we just went to look at the celebration. After that Stanislav played outside in the yard, then he came home at about 4pm and just fell down on his face."
"He couldn't sit, he couldn't stand. I tried to put him on his feet, but he was falling. His eyes were looking in different directions, as if he was drunk. It was so scary."
Lyubov Rabchevskaya, 27, said her 10-year-old son Almaz has also been affected. She said: "He has fallen asleep twice and now he often has headaches and he feels pain in his back. The first time it was very scary. He went to bed in the evening and I could not wake him up in the morning. I asked for help and when we managed to wake him up he could not say a word, he could not speak, only moaned. He moaned and his eyes are full of tears."
She added: "Sometimes I think that they all know what the cause is and maybe they're doing this specially to drive us away from this place. Now they want to resettle us to some remote places. I saw the houses that they propose. My shed looks better. I would not go there with my son. I do not want him to live in such conditions."
Vera Kolesnichenko who works in a shop in the village, said her four-year-old daughter Margarita has suffered from hallucinations and her husband spent three days in the hospital:
"Margarita had horrible hallucinations, she looked at me and cried: 'Mama, you have three eyes!' Then she looked over my shoulder and said: 'There is something crawling on the radiator!'"
Several theories but no answersKalachi stands very near to Krasnogorsk, which was a mining town that produced uranium ore for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons program. The mines were closed in the late 1980s, but many locals and some scientists speculate this to be an obvious cause. According to analysts in the area, no exact link between the radioactive gas and the ongoing sleeping illness has been proven.
While the disease has baffled scientists and local doctors, there are some emerging patterns. They tend to come in waves, they seem to be more common in the midst of a thaw than when the ground is frozen, and some believe that there is a correlation with wind direction.
Other experts believe that carbon monoxide is the culprit. Sergei Lukashenko, the director of Kazakhstan's National Nuclear Center's Radiation Safety and Ecology Institute, stated, "Carbon monoxide is definitely a factor, but I can't tell you whether this is the main and vital factor. The question is why it does not go away. We have some suspicions as the village has a peculiar location and weather patterns frequently force chimney smoke to go down instead of up."
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