Unknown disease forces villagers of Kazakh Kalachi to resettle

Unknown disease forces villagers of Kazakh Kalachi to resettle

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 23
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The dwellers of Kazakh village of Kalachi will be resettled due to unknown sleeping sickness, head of Kazakh Akmola region, where the village is located, Sergey Kulagin said, Novosti-Kazakhstan news agency reported.

The strange sleeping sickness in the Kalachi village of Kazakhstan was first registered in March 2013.
People literally fall asleep on the move: in the workplace, at school, and it is not possible to wake them up for a few days.

After waking up, the sick are observed to suffer from drowsiness, memory loss and fatigue, and some even have hallucinations.
Some people have several times suffered from the recurrence of the disease.
Over 60 people have been ill with the disease since its emergence.

"We cannot get rid of the problem, because the causes of the disease have not yet been established. I decided that the people [from the village] have to be relocated, " the head of the region said.

About 70 percent of the village dwellers willingly agreed to leave the village, according to Kulagin.
Kulagin said that the resettlement of all the population from Kalachi will cost approximately 2 billion KZT (182.05 KZT = $ 1).

"But it makes no sense to wait for the money," he said. "Money will be allocated approximately in the second half of 2015, but the issue is exigent."
The head of the region went on to add that he had discussed the issue of resettlement with a number of governmental institutions and they could help.
It is reported that first of all, the families with children will be resettled to other regions in the first half of 2015.

"As a rule, they are capable to work and we agreed with some regions that they would take these people" he said.

The regional authorities will work in order to provide the people from Kalachi with accommodation in other villages and cities.

A total number of 223 families live in Kalachi, including 106 families with children, Kulagin said.

Earlier, an interdepartmental working group was created at the instruction of Kazakh prime minister to address the situation in Kalachi.
The group includes representatives of state agencies: ministries of energy, healthcare and social development, interior, national economy, as well as the national security committee and the region's local authority, and the representatives of research institutions.
Currently, the agencies included in the working group are conducting research on examining the soil, water and the air.
The outbreaks of the disease usually fall on spring and autumn. Several diseased persons have been registered in the village of Kalachi since the beginning of December, 2014.

Despite the active work of Kazakh scientists, and those invited from Russia, they haven't been able to determine the exact cause of the disease so far. This is while medical examination says that these people are absolutely healthy.
There are various versions about the causes of the disease ranging from real to mystical ones. And one of the most popular versions is the uranium poisoning and the influence of radiation.

Kalachi is located in the vicinity of Krasnogorsk town, where uranium ore mined during the Soviet period. However, the mines were closed down in early 1990s. Nevertheless, the diseased residents were not working in those mines and the researches show that the background radiation in the village is within the normal range.

Additionally, the scientists involved in studying the consequences of the radiation share the opinion that radiation doesn't cause sleepiness and sleeping sickness was never observed in the areas contaminated by radiation.

Other versions include mass psychosis, poisoning, insect bites and even the impact of aliens.

Currently, doctors diagnose the diseased persons with "encephalopathy of unknown etiology" (brain damage by unknown substance) as before.

Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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