Mysterious & Devastating
Lubiri Village (Pader District), Uganda - Nodding Syndrome (NS) is a mysterious and devastating neurologic condition which stunts growth, causes its victims to nod (repeatedly dropping their heads forward), have epileptic seizures, and causes cognitive deterioration. In severe cases it can result in death.
The condition mostly affects children 5-15 years in northern Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania - although apparently there are no active cases in Tanzania. According to Komakech Paul, a senior clinical officer at the Atanga Health Centre III in Lubiri Village, Uganda, NS is concentrated in Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Lira and Gulu districts in northern Uganda. It has been active in the region since 1997 and the first really bad cases began to appear in 2006, said Mr. Komakech. “It’s associated with river blindness which is linked to blackflies. Blackflies breed in fast flowing fresh water. Sub-counties in the aforementioned districts, which are along the Aswa, Pager and Agago Rivers, are where the families affected by NS live. The link to river blindness is an assumption that’s still being investigated,” stated Mr. Komakech.