Nodding disease: Cure unknown
Disabling Nodding disease high in Northern districts
Testing biological weapons on Ugandan Guinea pigs: Deadly Ebola virus breaks out in Luweero(Uganda)
LUWEERO EBOLA VICTIM FREQUENTED FOREST: OH! REALLY
THE DRUG EPIDEMIC, VIRUSES,
EBOLA, AND AIDS
[IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!]
EBOLA, AND AIDS
[IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!]
Witccraft and the Paranormal
This disease is not caused by God. It has nothing to do with demon possession. It has to do with testing either drugs or biological weapons. A place like northern Uganda which has experienced war for over 20 years is a fertile ground for testing drugs by pharmaceutical companies and biological weapons, simply because the rule of law virtually breaks down. Unfortunately the people we call on for help are part of the deal. According to the daily monitor.
‘’The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the cause, mode of spread and cure for the disease still remains a mystery. According to current CDC findings, test results show no association with food, environment, occupational and water exposures as some reports have indicated. This observation rules out reports that children in the affected areas were drinking dirty river water, relied on relief food during the war and reports that fall-out from munitions used during the LRA war could have caused it. For now, the already affected children are sentenced to death by the disease. “The children definitely die with it – it’s not rapidly progressive, but it seems to take hold of them. The nodding is in fact a type of seizure which causes damage on the brain,” said Dr Scott Dowell, CDC lead investigator, in an interview with the Center for Global Health policy, United States’’. (http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1329170/-/b0pd91z/-/index.html)
Nodding disease: Top US scientist jets in
Publish Date: Feb 17,
A US-based lead investigator of the nodding disease has arrived in Uganda hoping to find more clues to the puzzling epileptic epidemic that has so far affected 3000 children.
Dr. Scott Dowell told journalists on Thursday that the numerous tests done at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, USA have not revealed much about the disease.
He said, however, that two strong leads being followed are the connection to the river blindness (onchocerciasis) and low serum concentration.
Serum is the component of blood which does not contain the white and red blood cells or the clotting factor.
Medical information describes serum as the blood component which includes all the proteins not used in blood clotting (coagulation) and all electrolytes, anti-bodies, antigens and hormones. The substance is used in many diagnostic tests as well as blood typing.
The affected children get stunted, malnourished, dehydrated and mental retardation in addition to nodding which, the doctors say is actually “a series of seizures.”
Several of the victims have died, according to Dr. Anthony Mbonye, the Commissioner for Health Services in the Ministry of Health, but that the number of deaths has not been ascertained yet.
Dr. Dowel who is the CDC's director of the Division of Global Disease Detection said that tests have ruled out close to three dozen causes for the severe seizure disorder including a big number of viruses. But he observed that there was low Vitamin B6 detected.
He dismissed speculation that the disease could be connected to the chemicals in the gun powder that could have been used during the insurgency in the north. He also said that there is no evidence that the disease is communicable.
The studies on the disease started in 2009 when the Government of Uganda asked the CDC to help test the disease, according to Dr. Dowell.
The initial results showed no connection with the hypothesized environmental, food occupational and water exposures. There was also no connection to exposure to munitions and crushed roots, he said
The medic said that though the tests have not yielded clear leads to the disease, he and his team are here [Uganda] to help the Ministry of Health treat the affected people and also carry out more research. The affected people, over 95% of whom are children aged 5 to 15, will also be treated with epileptic drugs.
In addition to the anti-convalescents, the doctors will treat the other symptoms as more research on the disease goes on.
He noted that some other studies have indicated that epilepsy is on the raise in northern Uganda.
According to Dr. Mbonye, other scientists engaged in different environmental and health research are to be commissioned to carry out further studies in their different fields in the affected areas in a bid to unravel the disease's mystery.
Could mysterious nodding disease in Africa have global implications?
Debra Black Staff Reporter
Nodding syndrome — a disease with epileptic-type symptoms prevalent in parts of northern Uganda — is a medical mystery that is confounding medical researchers and scientists alike.
The disease causes young children and adolescents to nod violently in an apparent seizure. It happens frequently throughout the day, including when they eat.
Over the past year there has been a growing outbreak in northern Uganda, specifically in Kitgum, Pader and Gulu. It is believed that thousands of cases have developed, but officials from the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have only been able to confirm a couple hundred.
A team from the Atlanta-based health organization is returning to Uganda in February to consult with local officials about a treatment trial.
Some researchers have suggested the disease may be linked to river blindness, which also affects all three communities.
River blindness, carried in bacteria inside a nematode worm known as onchocerca volvulus, is transmitted to humans by a bite from a black fly infected with the worm. The disease affects 18 million people, mostly in Africa.
The worms burrow into the skin, reproduce and release millions of offspring that spread throughout the body. After they die, they trigger a severe immune inflammatory response in the body which causes vision loss and severe itching.
It isn’t clear how it is related to nodding syndrome, researchers admit. At the moment all they know is there is an association between the two diseases.
History of Syndrome
The first cases of nodding syndrome — or descriptions of what could have been the disease — date back to the early 1960s in Tanzania, said Scott Dowell, director of Global Disease Detection and Emergency Response for the CDC, in a phone interview with the Star.
Over the past decade, clusters of the disease have popped up in South Sudan and Uganda. The onset in Uganda seems to have begun in 2003 with several thousand cases in Kitgum, Dowell said.
The disease appears to strike most children and adolescents between ages 5 and 15. Children appear healthy until about age 5 and then they begin having strange head-bobbing episodes.
Dowell describes it as a kind of perpetual motion, with the head constantly nodding up and down as if to say yes.
The nodding outbreaks differ in individuals, according to Dowell. In some patients it happens every few minutes. In other cases, it happens only three or four times a week. In many cases it makes eating and drinking difficult.
Those who experience it often appear disoriented and not aware of their surroundings when it’s happening, he explained. “It’s very unusual. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world.”
It is 40 to 100 times more common than epilepsy, he added.
Causes and treatments?
Researchers had hypothesized it might be caused by a new viral encephalitis, but that didn’t bear any fruit. They also thought perhaps it was a prion disease — such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease — but they have ruled that out, as well.
Now scientists are betting on the possibility that nodding syndrome is associated with river blindness. In all three CDC investigations so far, said Dowell, researchers have found an association.
Children and adolescents with the disease are more likely to have antibodies against river blindness and were more likely to be exposed to it. But scientists don’t know how river blindness transforms itself into nodding syndrome.
None of the children or adolescents who suffer from nodding syndrome recover. “Once they have it, it is forever,” said Dowell. It is very debilitating — they can’t eat, they are malnourished and they have cognitive problems, so they drop out of school and become totally dependent on their parents and the community, Dowell said.
Currently, sufferers are being treated with anti-epileptic medications and family members report the children are experiencing some relief.
The CDC has also recommended that they be treated for river blindness and malnutrition.
“Because we don’t know what causes it or its transmission routes, we don’t know what implications it may have for the rest of the world,” said Dowell.
Some diseases in Africa are local and others turn out to be globally important. He cites as an example “slim disease” — a wasting disease in West Africa. “It turned out to have been caused by HIV before HIV was discovered.”
In the case of nodding syndrome “we don’t know the implications of this for the rest of the world,” Dowell said. “It’s quite clear it has huge implications for those living in Kitgum district in Uganda, but it could turn out to have just as huge implications for the rest of the world.”
Govt Offers Condolences Over Nodding Disease
By Sheila Naturinda, The Monitor, 8 February 2012
The government yesterday fell short of apologising to the people of northern Uganda over the nodding disease, only offering condolences and promised to present a comprehensive report before Parliament today.
The deputy leader of government business, Gen. Moses Ali, acknowledged that the situation was 'mysterious' but said he had asked Health Minister Christine Ondoa to explain and answer all demands made by the political leaders of the Acholi sub-region districts where children are affected.
"We accept that the disease has been mysterious. We offer our condolences to the victims and promise to address this House tomorrow (today) on the disease; other matters we shall discuss then," Gen. Ali said.
For the second time in less than two months, the MPs from northern Uganda had demanded that their area be declared a disaster area or else they ferry all children affected by the disease to Kampala.
"We can see that northern Uganda has been ignored. We need action now," said Ms Beatrice Anywar, the Kitgum Woman MP.
"Our children are tied to trees like goats to avoid them falling into fires and hurting themselves," Ms Ms Anywar said.
The mysterious disease was first reported in the Acholi-sub region in 1997.
There are currently more than 3,000 children affected and more than 200 deaths registered at the local health facilities.
Among the demands of Acholi MPs tabled before Parliament yesterday are: declaring Acholi sub-region a disaster area, having a comprehensive report, creating of mobile clinics, a full budget channeled to the areas, and intensifying research to discover the name and cause of the disease.
In January, Ministry of Health set its third deadline to roll out a comprehensive action plan on nodding disease. This could be the report Dr Ondoa will present to the Parliament today.
Kamya: Government Shs7b nodding disease plan a sham
By AGATHA AYEBAZIBWE & JAMES ERIKU
Posted Tuesday, February 14 2012 at 00:00
Opposition politician Beti Kamya has questioned government’s claim that it has completed a Shs7b plan to manage the nodding disease that has caused misery in several Acholi districts.
Writing to the Speaker of Parliament yesterday, the Uganda Federal Alliance president said the statement by junior health minister Richard Nduhura to MPs that government had completed a Shs7 billion plan to manage the disease contained glaring contradictions.
She wondered, for example, how the minister could claim the plan had been shared with the Acholi Parliamentary Group, yet Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar, whose constituency is worst-hit, was clueless about the plan.
Ms Kamya also wondered how the ministry could have come up with a plan yet medical officials in the affected districts of Kitgum, Pader and Lamwo were ignorant of these arrangements.
“Madam Speaker, is it possible that the Ministry of Health put together a Shs7 billion plan without the participation and knowledge of the Director of Medical Services & DMO? If not, then the plan started after January 25 and by February 9, it had been long completed and even shared with development partners! Is that feasible?” writes Ms Kamya.
She adds: “Madam Speaker, I do not find the minister’s statement credible or convincing and the country already smells a Global Fund / GAVI-like scandal in the making, which we must not allow,” wrote Ms Kamaya. “I therefore petition Parliament, in the spirit of transparency, to order the Ministry of Health to immediately table before parliament, and get published in the media, the very plan that Hon. Nduhura claims.” More than 3,000 children are affected by the disease which has so far killed about 200 victims.
Low school turn up
And as the politicians jostle, our survey in the affected districts reveals that most primary schools in the affected districts have registered low turn up for the new term as many parents opt to keep away their children from social gatherings including church services.
In Pader, where 2,500 children are said to have contracted the disease, official statistics from the education department put the number of pupils not going to school since the term began at 700.
Mr Obol Okidi, the district education officer, said many children suffer general body weakness while others are mentally retarded, affecting their ability to attend school.
His counterpart in Kitgum, Mr Okwee Okaka said at least 221 children have dropped out of school in his district especially in Amida, Akwang and Lagoro sub-counties.
Logistical limitations are also crippling response services. The Pader health boss, Dr Janet Oola, whose district has more than 2,000 confirmed cases of nodding disease, said only two of the four ambulances are functional.In Lamwo District, most of the 800 cases reported are in border sub-counties-most about 40 kilometres away from Padibe Town Council where the district hospital is located.
The district health officer, Dr Charles Oyoo, said he had informed the public not to rely the district’s ambulance because it is strained serving all the sub-counties. Efforts to get more ambulances, he said, had bore no fruit. MP Anywar has accused government of negligence and playing hide-and-seek as the nodding disease continues to spread across the Acholi sub-region.