Suspected Nodding Syndrome Cases Reported in Oyam

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Gillian Akullu, the Oyam Resident District commissioner says the suspected cases were found in Otwal, Aleka and Abok sub-counties.

Oyam district health department is investigating 13 new suspected cases of Nodding Syndrome. 

This was after, 13 children from three sub-counties neighbouring Omoro district were diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of Nodding Syndrome while one other died recently.

Gillian Akullu, the Oyam Resident District commissioner says the suspected cases were found in Otwal, Aleka and Abok sub-counties.

Nelson Adea Aka, the Oyam district Chairperson says they suspect the children could have had contacts with their counterparts affected by the syndrome in Omoro district.

Adea says the district has contacted the Ministry of Health to assess the children for further analysis while the district has already implemented emergency clean water supply to the area.

"Ten more boreholes have been drilled in the area to supply residents some clean water as the Ministry of Health investigates the strange conditions further. Our assessment indicates that the affected families are in need of food and other basic services" Adea says.

Dr Thomas Malinga, the Oyam District Health Officer says the children were identified with symptoms of the strange disease after Ministry of Health disbursed Nodding Syndrome surveillance funds to the district.   

Dr Malinga says the Ministry of health has delivered anti-convulsion drugs to the affected children as they are monitored with psychosocial support to the affected families.

The cause of Nodding Syndrome remains unknown although more than 5,000 children have been affected by the mysterious health condition in Pader, Omoro and Kitgum district. Some 130 children are now known to have died of the disease.

Nodding syndrome, according to the World Health Organization, affects children between the ages of five and 15 years, causing progressive cognitive dysfunction, neurological deterioration, stunted growth and a characteristic nodding of the head. 

Despite numerous and extensive investigations, very little is known about the cause of the disease.

The districts affected are in Acholi and Lango areas.