Residents of a village in Kazakhstan are being relocated because of a mysterious illness that has been causing people’s brains to “switch off” and go into comas. One man even fell asleep while riding his motorcycle and didn’t wake up for several days.

Writes The Guardian:

The ‘sleeping sickness’ is baffling doctors and scientists alike who have tested increased levels of radiation; carbon monoxide; radon and a build up of heavy metal salts which can be toxic.

Scientists say radiation is within permissible levels, as is the concentration of heavy metal salts. Elevated levels of radon and carbon monoxide were detected but later ruled out as a cause…Doctors are equally mystified. Sleepy patients have been sent to hospitals in the capital Astana for tests but to no avail, and the Kazakh agency Tengrinews reported that deputy prime minister Berdibek Saparbaev had turned to the international medical community for support.

Other local reports speculated that scientists from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in America had sent specialists in to the area. The centre did not reply to a request to confirm if this was the case…Authorities in the regions are now opting for a radical, and controversial, solution: moving the villagers out of Kalachi to prevent further exposure. In January, regional governor Sergey Kulagin said he hoped the relocation would be complete by May.

Read more.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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