Nodding Disease Affects 3,000 Ugandan Children

A strange affliction has taken hold of children in the East African nation.


On Monday, World Health Organization officials and scientists will gather in Uganda to discuss a mysterious affliction, called “nodding disease,” that is affecting almost 3,000 children in the African country. One young girl suffering from the sickness drowned as a result of her symptoms, according to the Associated Press.

Joyce Labol was found dead about three years ago. As she bent low to fetch water from a pond a half mile from Languna’s compound of thatched huts, an uncontrollable spasm overcame her. The teen was one of more than 300 young Ugandans who have died as a result of the mysterious illness that is afflicting more and more children across northern Uganda and in pockets of South Sudan.

The disease is called nodding syndrome, or nodding head disease, because those who have it nod their heads and sometimes go into epileptic-like fits. The disease stunts children’s growth and destroys their cognition, rendering them unable to perform small tasks. Some victims don’t recognize their own parents.

Read more at the Associated Press.